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CEO and Founder, The Go! Agency

Netiquette and Niceties: How to Behave on the Internet

Netiquette and Niceties: How to Behave on the Internet

Remember when your parents used to teach you how to act? There were all these rules about how to introduce yourself, how to eat at a table, how to act around your elders, the list went on and on. Well, the internet has its own etiquette (or netiquette, if you’re into corny puns)  on how to act and like any rules, there are lots of people who break them. It is important, especially for those who use the internet for business, to learn online manners!

Whether you’re a casual visitor or heavily involved on the internet, you won’t have to look very hard to find some people being obnoxious and flat out rude. You’ll find this ugliness in comment sections and personal social media updates as people proclaim their opinion or deride others’. What happens if one of these “trolls” find their way onto your business page? If it’s truly offensive, you can report it and the internet authorities, such as Facebook or Twitter admins, can take care of it. However, if it’s a negative review, you’ll want to acknowledge it and see if there’s anything you can do to resolve the issue. Make it public so people can see how you handled the situation.

Yet internet manners go beyond dealing with hate and difficult people. Here are some do’s and do not’s that will make you very proper, indeed:

• Don’t beg for likes- Likes should come naturally. You don’t want to come off desperate. Your content should speak for itself and earn those likes. However, if you’re conducting a poll, you can have people “like” as an option. Still, there are more sophisticated ways of conducting polls now such as widgets to embed in a post.

• Respond…and fast! You want to be sure to respond to messages, comments, RTs, etc. in a timely manner. Try to make communication time less than 24 hours, even shorter if you can help it. This will show you’re being attentive and you pay attention to what your fans have to say. You don’t need to thank everyone who likes your posts, though. If you’re getting a bunch of likes, you’ll be stuck there all day!

• Post in moderation- It’s important to post everyday. However, you don’t want to post so much that your followers get annoyed. Quality over quantity is the name of the game in social media…except followers, the more followers the better.

• Hashtags- We can’t stress the importance of hashtags enough. However, keep it at a maximum of 3 per post. You don’t want to fill the screen with a ton of these tags. It’s another way to look desperate and annoy readers.

• We not me!- If you’re representing a business, always refer to yourself in the plural tense, such as “we” and “us”. You’re a stand in for a larger body of people, so “I” and “me” are inappropriate.

• Avoid “too hot” topics- Relevant and contemporary issues are good, but don’t get involved with sticky controversies or touchy subjects. If you’re representing a business, don’t plug your political agenda, religious ideals, or anything hair-raising.

Many of these can be applied to a real professional conversation. But as you can see, the internet requires some different kinds of formalities. Yet if you follow these, you’ll look like a real pro!

What are your thoughts on these rules? Comment below!

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