Online, email, and social media etiquette was a recent topic at the Social Media Breakfast Central Minnesota, and as it turns out, people are passionate about online etiquette. Prior to the session, I invited SMB participants, Vivid Image staff, clients, and friends to send me their biggest online etiquette complaints. I was inundated with feedback, which I will share in this blog post.
What’s Social Media and Online Marketing Etiquette?
Etiquette can encompass laws, individual platform rules, best practices, and usability standards. It’s a broad topic that boils down to the simplicity of “you’re doing it wrong”. If it offends or annoys people, it’s probably an etiquette faux pas.
Do you remember the “You’re doing it wrong!” scene from Mr. Mom in 1983 with Michael Keaton and Teri Garr? It’s one of my favorite movie scenes that is timeless. It’s possible to feel like what you are doing is the right thing, but if everyone else doesn’t agree or is irritated, you may need to shift your actions.
Everything we do has etiquette whether we realize it or not. It’s not realizing that can cause the issues. In Jack’s mind he was dropping his kids off on time and not breaking any traffic laws, yet to everyone else he was doing it wrong. When it’s your business at stake, it’s worth having happy people interacting with you.
For many small businesses and organizations, the owner or leader IS part of the brand. How you represent yourself online (and offline) reflects directly on your business whether you like it or not.
So what made the list of bad online etiquette?
- Cryptic Facebook posts that make people comment “Is everything OK?”
- Curse words.
- Poor spelling, typos and wrong words “there, their” “your, you’re”
- Negative political posts
- Brands setting up Facebook pages as a personal profile
- Multiple Social Media Profiles
- Facebook pages with no cover images
- Eggheads on Twitter
- When people don’t properly spell out words. They use u, r, o or other short ways of spelling words. It’ll take a half a second to actually type out the word.
- Constant complaining on Social Media.
- YouTube videos names that end with .MOV
- Long URL’s on Facebook that are not deleted or shortened
- Using content or photos that aren’t yours, without permission.
- Email to tons of people; reply all spam
- Multiple punctuations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Explosion of color, fonts, sizes, capitals and all over the place
- Newsletters with ten million fonts, colors, sizes
- Set up an email auto-response… and then respond.
- Emailing large files/not checking with your recipient in advance to see how she would like to receive the file.
- No quick contact information in the email signature
Online Marketing and Web
- Explosion of color, fonts, sizes, capitals and all over the place/inconsistency
- Having to search for phone number or email on website (not in footer and contact page)
- No Gravatars Go to: https://en.gravatar.com/site/signup
- Not giving credit when credit is due
- When a website makes you sign-up/make an account to see or get more information on a product/service without having a skip option. I usually always leave the site and find another resource. I’m ok with it as long as there is a skip or close button.
- Pop-up ads that get in the way of reading on a website. Some will scroll with your page so it will never leave and has no close button on it. This especially on the phone is awful because it takes up a lot of space on the screen.
- General inconsistencies in grammar (dashes and phone numbers etc.) and capitalization of headlines.
- Modal windows when you visit a web page. I Like this site: http://www.dotandbo.com/ There isn’t even an option to click out of it to see what the website is all about. You HAVE to sign up for their newsletter.
- Graphic Designers would like say that it drives a designer nuts when anyone uses these two fonts: Comic Sans …and Papyrus
In a nutshell, be very aware of what you are doing, your tendencies (we all have them), be consistent, and professional. Take time to proof and everything you do effects your brand and lives on beyond the “initial send, save or click”.
What would you add to these lists?