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Social Media Etiquette – Play Nicely!

Posted by True Highlands in Kit and Caboodle | 4 comments

Whilst some minorities have become far more vocal on social media in terms of being moaning Minnies, it seems businesses have become more frightened to answer back in case they upset someone.  Well we aren’t. This is a piece of writing intended to give some suggestions on social media etiquette as well as a few tips for businesses on how to protect their brand and deal with the few negative Normans (apologies to anyone called Norman – I’m sure you’re very nice!).

As a user of social media with a personal account, you enjoy the fruits of someones hard work. Hours spent creating interesting posts and often for little or no reward. Some people feel it is perfectly acceptable to constantly write negative comments about peoples posts. For example:

“That photo is crap – you shouldn’t be allowed a camera” or “That’s clearly photoshopped – it’s AWFUL!!!!”

“Sort your spelling out – I mean who can’t spell!!” or “Grammatical errors are stupid and show your lack of intelligence”

“STOP mentioning BRITAIN and UK – you’re here to promote SCOTLAND!!!!!”

These are real comments made to me and to others who have posted on my page.  I would ask those people, or others who think about writing something negative, whether this achieves anything for them. Perhaps the person who posted the photo is recovering from a stroke, is 76 and has taken up photography as a hobby. Perhaps the person you call out about their spelling is dyslexic. Perhaps the person you harass about grammar is suffering from depression and has got the guts to finally post to page their photo or comment to someone. And as for the last comment – Well – I had fun responding to that……

I honestly can’t believe that people who are abusive to others on social media are this nasty in real life. There is something about a screen and a keyboard that makes people “brave” and say something they wouldn’t possibly say to that person face to face. It’s nothing short of bullying.

As a user, please remember that these pages are run by real people with real feelings. Some are trying to make a living and others are doing it for pleasure. Let me put it this way. A social media business page is akin to a high street shop. Businesses put their wares in display in the window for you to look at. As you walk past a high street shop, perhaps a clothes shop, there is a jumper in there, hand knitted and in bright colours. Now, personally, you don’t like bold colours with tassels and glitter. What do you do? The majority would simply keep walking and not give it a second thought. Some may do a double take and think “ugh”. But how many would stop and get worked up enough over this offensive jumper to walk into the shop and start telling the little old lady sat knitting the jumpers that “It’s bloody awful! Get it out of the window! You’re crap! My god you’ve got a nerve charging for that!”  Not many – if any. So apply the same principle to social media. Don’t like it? Keep scrolling.

Business pages want discussion, they want your comments – wouldn’t life be boring if we all agreed! But there is definitely a way of doing it that isn’t confrontational.

I had cause to post this on True Highlands social media platforms recently….

Do’s and don’t to make social media platforms a nice pace to be:

  • Do ‘like and share’ posts you find interesting and think others will like
  • Do make a comment if relevant to the post
  • Do not be abusive to others – think about that person as a human being
  • If you spot a spelling or grammar error, message the page privately – they’ll be grateful
  • Do expect to be blocked or banned from pages you are abusive on
  • Do not think it is your right to pass judgement
  • Do enjoy the pages for what they are or unfollow them if you don’t like them
  • Don’t be a bully – be a participant and enjoy!

Now – if you’re reading as a business there are also a few things for you to remember.  Firstly, this is not your personal page. It is your shop window. So please don’t make it personal. Be objective. Your audience is worldwide and may never have heard of you.

If you find you receive negative comments, which are unjustified, feel free to hide or delete them. But read it carefully. Perhaps the person commenting has a point? If so, respond as any business with good customer service would.

As a business you are perfectly entitled to ban people from your page. You (possibly) pay for the page and put a lot into it. Don’t be frightened.

There are a few do’s and don’ts for you too so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong end of a business:

  • NEVER take photos from someone’s social media pages without first requesting permission. Not only is it illegal, it is incredibly bad manners and will not win you any friends
  • Likewise – never take another businesses wording of a post and pass it off as your own
  • Do not constantly comment on other business pages, as your business, as it becomes apparent you are simply trying to get your name on there and you may find yourself reported for spamming
  • Do always “like” comments made on posts by your followers (if appropriate). Its nice to know that if they are engaging with you, you are paying attention and appreciate it.
  • Do get professional training on running your page if you are struggling. It is your shop front and you want it to draw potential customers in
  • Never go on social media after a tipple or two!
  • Always respond to feedback whether negative or positive. Customers and followers want to know you have excellent customer service
  • Do enjoy what your doing as it will come across in your posts

As a business owner, running it on my own, I see a lot of comments across social media and it is quite shocking how people treat others with a screen between.

We aren’t animals, we aren’t a nation of haters. We spend so much time on screens now instead of interacting in person, we seem to have forgotten how to behave. ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’ is such a short sentence but has such a big meaning. Also, as mother used to say, ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.’

If you see someone being verbally bullied on social media, make a nice comment to them. And ignore the ignorant.  And remember – businesses aren’t (in the main) ogres. We are people simply trying to bring pleasure to others and keep the wolf from the door.

So enjoy it. Embrace it – or ignore it. Life really is too short to be angry.

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Comments (4)
  1. Eileen says:

    Three cheers for this so needed article. Articulate and direct , many thanks . Will repost it in the hopes that it goes viral cause God knows it needed said. Best wishes and again many thanks.

    • True Highlands says:

      Thank you! appreciate the comment and thanks for reading it!

  2. T.E. St. George’s says:

    Brilliant…needed to be
    put it out there for general consumption and application by all…
    Congrats.

    • True Highlands says:

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to give your feedback. Much appreciated.

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