The 7 don’ts of social media etiquette for bloggers

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One of the beauties of social media is that it doesn’t have any hard and fast rules. But there are certain guidelines and common courtesies that, if followed, make it a generally better place for all users.

You’d think these would be fairly obvious. Treat people with the same respect online that you would if you were dealing with them face to face. And yet so often some seem to think they can get away with more just because they’re hidden behind a keyboard and a screen.

Here are seven don’ts that are considered faux pas by most bloggers.

1. Don’t write “Great post!” as a comment

You’ve spent hours crafting 700 words of perfect prose and then someone comes along and leaves “Great post!” as a comment.

To the experienced blogger, this means either or both of two things: (1) the commenter hasn’t bothered reading the post and just wants to be seen to be commenting or (2) they are only commenting to create a backlink that boosts their blog’s ranking. Either way, it’s pretty cynical and insulting and no better than spam.

2. Don’t ask for a retweet without interacting first

Someone you’ve never even exchanged tweets with before asks you to retweet their latest post.

This is a bit like someone you’ve never met before asking if you can display their brand logos on your house for free. I don’t know you and I’m not a free advertising service. Go away. Or at least engage with me first and develop some kind of relationship before you ask.

3. Don’t hog a hashtag party

I do like a good Twitter hashtag party, where bloggers congregate from all over the place to share posts for others to read and retweet.

Most bloggers will link up one or two posts and maybe repeat those a couple of times during the day, and that’s fine. But there is a small minority who will seemingly link up every post they have ever written. Every single week. Funnily enough, not only do I not click their links but I’ve also blocked them to keep their spam out of my timeline. Nobody like a person who insists on hogging the limelight.

4. Don’t ask to click on your ads

I know of one individual (not someone I know) who is in the habit of asking not only for people to read his posts but also to click on the adverts they carry. I’ve never seen him offer to do the same for other bloggers.

You can probably guess how often I have done so. I will occasionally click on ads that are relevant to me – but not when someone has approached me with a begging bowl.

5. Don’t follow and then unfollow the moment I follow you back

Social media is, to a certain extent, a numbers game. Most of us bloggers want to build our followings because more followers means more potential readers.

But when someone follows me on Twitter and then unfollows me the moment I follow back, so as to keep their own follower numbers down in an attempt to look popular – well, that’s just rude. “Hi, I want to be your friend but I’m going to dump you as soon as you’ve turned your back.” Thanks but no thanks. Blocked.

6. Don’t abuse the privacy of groups and DMs

Whether it’s closed groups or direct messages on Twitter, there is a reason why most social media platforms allow users to communicate privately as well as publicly.

There are some things that can only be said behind closed doors, whether it is someone blowing off steam or a discussion that needs to be kept private between a small number of people. I’ve seen instances of people who have sent screen captures of DMs or Facebook group discussions to third parties. It doesn’t reflect well on the person doing the sharing – and nobody likes a snitch.

7. Don’t turn your Twitter timeline into one big billboard

Twitter is a great way for promoting your blog posts. But if all you do is use your timeline exclusively for promoting yourself, I will lose interest very quickly.

Twitter is a conversational medium that is most effective when you talk with people rather than constantly shouting at them. By all means promote your blog, but the best Twitter users – and the ones I tend to interact with the most – are the ones who actually take the time to chat with other people and even promote other people’s work. There’s a reason it’s called social media, you know.

Do you agree with the above? And is there anything else you would add to the list of social media no-nos?

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