Social Media Etiquette: Minding Your Ps & Qs (Book Review)

September 17, 2014

social media etiquette

Etiquette. At times, it seems the word itself is becoming void in today’s society, but it’s more void still when it comes to social media. There are countless books that have been written about how to do social media right — to build brand, sales, community, engagement — but none that address the fundamentals of decent behavior. 

It may sound simple, but this behavior is often overlooked. Just like the manners your parents taught you as a kid, there’s no one to police or punish poor etiquette in social media, but if you don’t understand proper behavior, you will look like a big jerk and not attract the right friends, perhaps without even realizing it. The struggle with social media is that there’s never been a guide. Until now. Social Media Etiquette for Business: 100 Ways to Communicate With Grace and Class is an ebook by Jennifer Kane* that serves as the industry’s first primer on the topic.

The Elevator Pitch

Let’s face it — proper etiquette is crucial if you’re trying to make a good impression. And that impression will mean all the difference in the quality of company you keep. But when it comes to social media, there are no rules, thus, few discussions or guidelines around proper etiquette in this space. As the description states, this ebook offers 100 tips to help you master the basics of social media etiquette for work, from building a presence, engaging with your audience and publishing content, to specific suggestions for the top social networks being used today. It’s a quick read and handy reference that offers advice from a big picture perspective and then dives in and offers a set of tips specific for each of today’s most popular channels.

4 Big Ideas From Social Media Etiquette for Business: 100 Ways to Communicate With Grace and Class

jennifer kane

Jennifer Kane

Why should we concern ourselves with social media etiquette? Truth is, the nice guys do not always finish first or with the most money. But, as Kane writes, “You will have greater success, support and longevity in social media if you balance being calculated with being kind. And good etiquette is the key to achieving that balance. ” I think that’s enough said right there.

Etiquette for people using social media at or for work. This distinction is an important one for purposes of the material and tips covered in this book, which specifically addresses those using social media for purposes of their career or on behalf of a company. Yes, there is always a mix of personal (which is very much where proper etiquette comes in to play and why this book is important.) But this isn’t do’s and dont’s for navigating a complicated network of family, friends, exes, and past classmates. It concentrates specifically on things to consider if you are someone who is interested in building a professional brand.

Content Etiquette vs. Engagement Etiquette. Just like being appropriately dressed for church is as important as how you behave when it comes time to shake hands with the congregation, this book addresses proper ways to develop your content and profile information, as well as best practices for engaging with grace.

Where to take it from here. We’re all in this together, really. While Kane lays out a set of guidelines, she does not purport that they’re the be-all, end-all. The fact remains that it’s in our hands whether or not we want to put them into practice. As we build and participate in social networks — as in life — there will always be bad behavior. It’s our choice whether or not we’d like to do our part to make it a better place. As mentioned before, nice guys do not always finish first, but, they just might sleep a little better at night.

So, Should You Read It?

Social Media EtiquetteIf you’re social savvy and have already learned the ropes, you’d find yourself doing a lot of head-nodding as you read this book. That said, it’s such a quick read, and you could easily skim to see if it’s right for a friend, colleague, client, or someone just starting out. Because this book speaks to the perspective of someone managing social media on behalf of, or for purposes of, doing business, it’d be a great book for anyone starting their professional career, or a marketer just learning the ropes of social media for their business.

Something else to consider — is etiquette important to you? The reality is that there are no hard and fast rules, and there’s certainly no one policing etiquette on the Internet. If it’s not your thing, this isn’t the book for you. (If you find yourself in this camp, might I suggest you at least take a peak at Jen’s blog post, 10 Reasons Why Social Media Etiquette Matters.)

Want to Get a Copy for Free?

This book is available free to KindleUnlimited users. (Full price is $1.99.)

* DISCLOSURE: Jennifer Kane is a friend and former colleague of mine with Kane Consulting. 

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.