Way back in the 1980s, Chuq von Rosbach first coined the term “netiquette.” It was meant to be a series of rules that advised you what you should do and what you should not do when attempting to interact online. This was all very new back then and people really didn’t know what to expect. If we fast-forward to today we are all certainly used to the Internet and communicating thereon, but now we have to get to terms with the social media revolution. Certainly, we are still using the basic tenets of the World Wide Web to communicate in social media terms, but it’s worth noting that certain styles of behaviour are expected and it’s especially important for the commercial entity to recognise what they are.
Maybe one of the first rules of netiquette as it applies to social media marketing should be, as first suggested by Jonathan Parker, that “Google Before You Tweet Is The New Think Before You Speak.” This means we must always be careful and be aware of our ground before we move forward. We simply cannot afford to say the wrong thing, even if it’s in a statement of 140 characters or less. Many people and organisations have put their foot in their collective mouths by jumping to send a tweet, or post a statement on their Facebook business page too hastily.
Another one of the classic rules of netiquette, which should definitely have a place in the new social media world, is that we need to read follow-ups and be aware of potential responses whenever we create a position or make a statement of any kind. This should only be common sense as, after all, the whole point of engaging in social media circles is to try and create conversation and engagement. If we don’t see, or worse yet ignore, a comment from somebody then we are making several mistakes. Not only are we upsetting a potential customer, but other people who are observing the communication – or lack thereof – are not likely to be impressed, either.
Another one of the original rules of netiquette was to be descriptive, so as not to create confusion. The prospects really don’t have time to beat around the bush and they cannot make assumptions about your message. Not only is the potential consumer likely to click elsewhere if they can’t readily identify the meaning of the communication, but poor titling is one of the cardinal mistakes that we cannot afford to make when trying to communicate online. We should know that in any e-mail campaign, if we don’t create an engaging subject line many of these e-mails are simply not going to be opened. Netiquette in social media terms requires us to be clear about our position, especially if we want to establish a productive outcome.
In today’s more complicated world of social media marketing, the virtual assistant understands each and every rule associated with netiquette and can help any organisation to learn this language well, too.