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The Essential Guide to Social Media Etiquette


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You’ve read the horror stories: Well-intentioned company makes a social media blunder, and seemingly within moments they’re being criticized and mocked as news of the mistake spreads like wildfire across the social media landscape. As even prominent brands and giant companies have learned, it’s easy to make disastrous mistakes with social media. But it’s also relatively easy to take preventive measures to avoid getting into trouble. Here's how to mind your social media manners.

Published in: Social Media, Technology, Business

The Essential Guide to Social Media Etiquette

  1. 1. Who Is Amy Vernon? I do stuff on the Internet • 20 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and blogger • Top female submitter of all time on • Consultant to the stars (OK, not really, but I’ve worked with lots of companies & publishers, including AOL, VentureBeat, and Dailymotion.
  2. 2. Setting Up Accounts
  3. 3. Be Consistent
  4. 4. CVS Screenshot via B.L. Ochman Be Open
  5. 5. Don’t Overdo It
  6. 6. Crisis Management
  7. 7. When to Shut Up AT&T screenshot via Mashable
  8. 8. When & How to Apologize Screen shot via Ad Week
  9. 9. Policies Best Buy has a Social Media policy that’s in simple language and boils down to a single statement at the end: Remember: protect the brand, protect yourself Dell’s policy includes a section on the company owning social accounts created on behalf of the company: If that account is Dell property, you don't get to take it with you if you leave the company — meaning you will not try to change the password or the account name or create a similar sounding account or have any ownership of the contacts and connections you have gained through the account.
  10. 10. Montana State University Athletics Dept. has some common-sense language in its policy: Posting is speaking in public. Don't post anything you wouldn't say at a public meeting representing MSU or to the media. Wolverhampton Homes in the U.K. has a policy that addresses how to handle negative attention: It is much better to be honest about our failings and make it clear how we intend to put it right. If we make a mistake, we should apologise promptly and honestly, explaining what happened and what we will do to put it right.
  11. 11. Dozens of Social Media Policies are available at:
  12. 12. Twitter
  13. 13. Twitter Don’ts Photo by Rex Dingler via Flickr Creative Commons.
  14. 14. Screenshot via CNN
  15. 15. Screenshots via Gizmodo
  16. 16. Screen shots via Digiday
  17. 17. Twitter Mistakes Made Right Photo by Terrance Heath via Flickr Creative Commons
  18. 18. Screen shot via Ad Week
  19. 19. Screenshots via Beth Kanter
  20. 20. Why People Follow You • Number of connections in common • You get retweeted a lot • Lots of informational tweets • A detailed bio • URL listed • Location listed • Tweets tend to be positive • Use of long, fancy words • High ratio of followers to following • Following back those who follow you Findings from a Georgia Tech study, summarized by Poynter.
  21. 21. Facebook
  22. 22. Facebook Meltdowns Photo by Bess Grant via Flickr Creative Commons
  23. 23. Screen shots via E Online.
  24. 24. Screen shot via Eater Boston
  25. 25. Screen shots via Realtime Report and Jezebel (deleted comments)
  26. 26. Classy on Facebook Image via Know Your Meme
  27. 27. Why You’re Liked • 49% say they Like a page because they “support” the brand • 42% Like in order to get a coupon or discount • 41% Like to receive regular updates • 35% Like to participate in contests • 31% Like to share their personal, good experiences • 27% Like to share their interests • 21% Like in doing research for specific products or services • 20% Like because their friends are fans Syncapse survey results via Socially Stacked
  28. 28. Google+
  29. 29. Don’t Fuel the “Ghost Town” Rep Photo by Deni via Flickr Creative Commons
  30. 30. Foster Community Photo from mystuart via Flickr Creative Commons
  31. 31. Tools!
  32. 32. Thanks and Keep In Touch