The 3 Fundamental Social Media Rules of Engagement

There are plenty of rules for social media engagement, and I have my own ever-growing list. But the more involved I get in social, the more I realize that there are three things that are absolutely critical:

1. Be Nice.

Even if you’re well-known among friends and associates for your cynical snark, the unkind are quickly ignored or worse in the social space. Don’t slam the competition. Don’t criticize your employer or colleagues. Don’t attack, even if attacked. No one comes away from social media fights looking good. If you disagree with someone or something, it may be not be easy to come up with a cogent argument for your position, but it’s much easier than doing damage control for your online reputation.

2. Be Honest.

Remember, nothing ever really goes away on the Internet. You can delete, but you seldom can scrub. Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t or claim expertise you don’t have. And don’t be referencing someone else’s dishonesty as a way to “protect” yourself. All may not be fair in love, war and business, but what goes around comes around, and never more severely than in social media.

3. Be Discreet.

Don’t gossip. Don’t share highly personal information, especially photos, about yourself or your friends and associates. Don’t share private conversations without the permission of everyone involved. If it’s something you wouldn’t want people knowing about you, then don’t share the same thing about others.

These three rules don’t guarantee success, but without them as the foundation of your social media engagement, you’re bound for failure.

What are your three musts for social media success?

About Lee Stral

Lee is a marketing consultant who has specialized in Internet marketing and Web site development since the Internet first showed promise as a marketing channel. Prior to founding Essential Presence, he was partner in an integrated marketing communications agency working with technology, professional service and non-profit organizations.

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