Emily Post’s name is synonymous with proper etiquette and manners. I have no doubt that if she were alive today, she’d have a thing or two to say about how people behave on various social networks. So, in Emily Post style, here are five social media etiquette rules that make the social world a happier place:

1. Don’t hijack threads in the name of your own agenda. Many of us have experienced or witnessed blog/social media thread hijacks before. Here’s an example: A blogger posts an article recommending some great companies in a specific industry. A reader feels as if this blogger has somehow forgotten to include their company in the blog post. The reader then comments on the post, mentions that the writer must have inadvertently excluded their company from the article and proceeds to provide a laundry list of facts about why their company is so awesome. Don’t do this. Not only does this make the thread hijacker look desperate, but it’s also disrespectful to the companies or products that were mentioned in the post. The best thing to do is to note the author’s name and contact information, and build a relationship (no stalking). Building relationships with online influencers, rather than hijacking their threads, will help raise their awareness of your company/product in a professional manner.

2. Include context if a Facebook ‘friendship’ is unclear. Facebook isn’t like Twitter in that you can’t just instantly follow someone – There are privacy concerns. On Facebook, you have to send a request, and the recipient must accept this request in order for you to become “friends.” The problem, is that when someone wants to connect or network on Facebook, the tendency to send a friend request with little to zero context is common. This results in a lot requests stuck in friend request purgatory. You’ll notice the request message says,”Do you know so-and-so? If you know so-and-so, send her a friend request or message her.” Do both of these if it’s not crystal clear how you know each other. Send a message reminding the person where you met, or why you want to connect, then send the friend request. This provides some context and increases the chance of connecting.

3. Don’t use vulgar language or make threats to others with different opinions. Unfortunately, there was a ton of this behavior plastered on Social Media sites during the recent election. It’s one thing to have passion for a cause, side, candidate, etc. but no amount of name-calling or threats will make someone change their mind and/or take your point of view. Crossing the line by berating others for having different views looks bad, and it’s alienating.

4. Give credit where credit is due. We read and share a lot of great articles every day on our @VR4SmallBiz Twitter account. When sharing third-party articles, blog posts, etc., always try to include the Twitter handle of the person or blog that penned the article. It not only provides a proper source credit for the piece of content, but it lets the person know you shared it. This can be great for building relationships with influential people inside and outside of your industry.

5. Say thank you – It sounds simple because it is. Take the time to thank someone who comments on your post, retweets your content or shares your Facebook photo. You’d be surprised by the responses that a simple “thank you” can get.

There you have it – five Social Media etiquette rules that everyone should follow. These rules not only make social networks a better place for all to enjoy, but they’d make Emily Post pretty darn proud.

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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