Be Nice: My Rules of Engagement for Social Media
by Craig Silva
in Social Media
18 Sep 2020
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When engaging on social media, I always try and follow these “Rules of Engagement” I have laid out for myself. Have I broken a few since I have been on social media? Absolutely… and I have learned each time why I should refer to my own guidelines before posting.
Here are a few words of wisdom from the late Patrick Swayze – taken from the movie “Roadhouse” (*caution: contains profanity).
Everyone uses social media differently but this is what has worked (and is working) for me.
Rules of Engagement
1. Be nice. Social media is a megaphone. If you’re an ass in person, you will be a bigger ass on social media. Be authentic, engaging, and supportive of others.
@RotmanWomen TY for such a wonderful event w/ @kirstinestewart yesterday! Beautiful space, great energy; I will share your programs widely!
— Claire Crossley (@ClaireSMBB) October 22, 2013
2. Acknowledge your mentions. If your feed is full of people sending you messages and you only respond to those who are influential, you’re doing it wrong. Treat everyone equally, regardless of his or her influence.
3. Don’t feed the trolls. Period. An online argument makes everyone look bad in the end. There is no advantage, so don’t do it.
4. Don’t worry about people who don’t like you. If everyone likes you, you’re doing it wrong. Ignore the miserable, jealous, angry people – they take away from the time you’re spending being awesome and building relationships.
5. Think before you post. You may be tempted to post an emotionally charged status update or tweet. My advice, type it into a Word doc and then get up, walk away, grab a drink of water, go for a walk… whatever it takes to get your head clear. Then revisit that post. If it is something you wouldn’t want your mother to read online, don’t post it. If it is something you will possibly regret, don’t post it. If it is something that will have a negative impact on you or your brand, don’t post it.
If you do happen to post something that breaks this rule, at least own up to it. Don’t make excuses that your account was hacked. That just makes you look silly. Showing you are human, and posting a good recovery as soon as possible is important.
6. If someone else posts a passive aggressive post, don’t comment. They are looking for attention. Even if you know it is about you, best not to comment. Let that person stew in their own miserable life. No need to sink down to their level.
7. Set your boundaries. I have a personal policy that I will not discuss religion and politics on social media. I know there are a lot of people who do, and I have seen conversations get heated.
8. Attend face-to-face events. Like any relationship, it takes time and effort to build it into a strong one. I have made some great friendships through social media – and strengthened through real life meetings.
9. Talk about your company, but avoid the hard sell. Sorry sales people… but no one wants to be in the middle of a great conversation and then be pitched your product.
10. Never bash your competitors. Get ahead on your own merits and reputation. Let your work, your product, your service, and your positive personality sell you.
11. Measure twice, cut once. It’s very important to proofread everything before you publish. You never know who is looking at your posts. They could be a future boss.
12. Don’t call out a brand. This could be anything from complaining about their service, wanting them to sponsor you, or looking to get invited to something. Reach out to them privately. If they are not following you on Twitter, ask them to follow you as you would like to speak to them privately. On Facebook, you can private message them on their official page. For clarification, see my first point on why not to do this.
13. There is an unfollow button. Don’t be afraid to use it. Too many people are afraid to use the unfollow button, but take offense when people post things they dislike. Is someone swearing too much? Is someone posting naked pictures? Is someone going on an antigay or racial slurring rampage? Unfollow them. Don’t call them out. Don’t waste your time looking further into it. Just unfollow. Your blood pressure will thank you.
14. Don’t announce you’re “cleaning out” your Facebook friends list. Just do it. If you have people you no longer feel you would like to be friends’s with, unfriend them. Don’t make a big deal of it. If you are doing a Spring Clean, just do it. No need to post a long diatribe of why. People may reach out privately and ask why. Then you can fill them in. If they call you out publicly, refer back to the Patrick Swayze clip earlier in this post.
Well that’s it for me folks.
If you have any more points you think should be added, feel free to leave me a comment.
If you would like me to review your product, service, restaurant, or travel destination, please send me an email at email@example.com or tweet me at @BigDaddyKreativ
Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, travel and food writer, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space.
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