Jim Carrey has recently proven via Twitter, that social media etiquette is important to every single one of us.
On July 2, the Hollywood actor had to apologise to a family for posting a photo of a child with autism and tuberous sclerosis via his Twitter account without asking permission.
This issue of not understanding correct social media etiquette isn’t just held by Carrey however, it seems many of us simply don’t know how to behave on social networking platforms. The fact is, with the birth of social media platforms, came the logic that we must act like out of control journalists or photographers. A recent Nominet study concluded that 25% of participants had not asked permission to post photos of others, and a staggering 53% had posted photos of someone else’s infant. Permission should always be obtained if using someone else’s image or content.
This isn’t just important from an individual perspective, but also in terms of business and using social networks as an internet marketing tool. It’s common sense to ask permission to use any form of content that doesn’t belong to us. A prime example of how this could apply to a business is in an instance where you have asked your customers to tell their stories through social networking channels. Many customers, along with sharing their stories, will also share photographs, some of which may have family members in. You must ensure that you obtained permission to share these stories, otherwise a nasty surprise could be waiting at the other end of the tunnel.
Some of the main things that we should all consider when using social media sites are:
Could the content you want to share be offensive to anyone?
This is a big ‘no no’ for any business using social media to market themselves, and is important to get right when considering your reputation management. Offending your followers can be extremely damaging to your brand, and you individually, so ensuring that nothing you post could be perceived as offensive is vital.
Can your post be misinterpreted?
Misinterpretation is something that can very easily happen, especially with the written word. What may sound perfectly fine to you when you are writing it, could be perceived in a wholly different way by the person(s) reading it.
Can you see others seeing your post as well reasoned or just venting?
It’s never a good idea to use social media to vent your frustrations, by doing so you are leaving yourself and your business open to criticism. Anything you share should either be very soundly reasoned, or positive.
Can it be shared in a personal message as opposed to publically?
If what you want to share could be seen as any of the above points, make sure it isn’t shared publically, or better yet, simply don’t share it at all.