Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Social media etiquette 101

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMCorine La Font

Within the past 5-10 years or so, social media has been the rage. If you're not doing social media, you're not saying anything, not keeping up with the time and just old school. So what? Maybe old school is still the way to go. Old school works.

It baffles me how people have taken to social media and can't simply relate to another human being online. The only difference is that technology stands in-between and facilitates the process, as opposed to the traditional face to face and yet still, face to face can also be accommodated via social media nowadays.

So why can't you be social? Here are a few tips that you should follow when using social media for personal, business, promotions and marketing:

1. If you're hanging out with your friend having drinks, and out of the corner of your eye you spot a handsome guy or gal that you really want to meet, do you just get up and walk across to the guy/gal's table and introduce yourself? Well, for some of you, you just might. The old-school approach would be to nudge your friend who you are hanging out with and say something like 'Isn't he cute? Do you know him?" Let's assume she says yes. You would then ask her to introduce you. In using this old-school approach, you are now being recommended by a mutual friend.

Doing this breaks the ice and takes away the awkwardness. Let's say you come across each other at another time, it becomes easier to say "Hi, remember me? We met at x and x place." Now, let's apply this to social media. What I find happening are persons using the walk up to the table approach which tends to be a turn-off and a "what the hell, do I know you?" response. Not good. Especially on LinkedIn, where persons only reach out to you directly as opposed to going though how you are connected and requesting a mutual friend to do an introduction.

2. How about getting to know me first? Yes, I know it may take a while and too long for some of you who may be desperate for clients but will that approach really attract the clients you want? I think not! While marketing can be somewhat aggressive at times, don't compromise taking the time to know someone before reeling them in. You may find out in the process that the individual is not a good fit, you don't like the company they keep and having them as your client may be a mistake and turn-off for other prospective clients. Check out their social-media posts on the various platforms, follow their comments on others, look at the types of pictures, images and videos they post and share. This will give you some insight into the person - their mind and personality.

3. If you have nothing good to say, say nothing. Some persons using social media feel that they have to give their opinion on everything! The thing with social media is that people post what they might be feeling at the moment. It's no different in daily life. It seems we take the same behaviours into cyberspace as well. Amazing!

4. Stop being so pushy! I want to mention LinkedIn here again for this social platform is where it all happens for the business community. I believe in being bold but I am careful to evaluate first before making my move. Some persons on LinkedIn have reached out to me just to tell me about their business and how we can work together one day. They have not at any point asked about me, what I offer or anything that communicates their interest in what I do. It's all about them! No, no! A better move would be to check my profile, read my posts, comments on the posts, follow my Twitter feed and Facebook profile and business page. Write a post on your website that may be in agreement or disagreement with what I have written. In other words, start a virtual conversation that backlinks to my original post URL. Send out a tweet which includes my Twitter handle so that way I will be notified and inclined to go over to your website to read what you have written. And the rest, as they say, will be history.

These are just a few ways in which you should use social media. One way to be guided is to go back to what you were socialised to do. Always remember your values and standards and as the Bible says, "Do unto others as you would have do unto you." Basic manners, respect and courtesy should be extended to all, whether face to face or online. It doesn't change just because technology is in the mix. As a matter of fact, you should be more circumspect when socialising online.

I invite you to email me at the address below to ask your questions and I will respond via a blog post on my website or an article in The Gleaner. That way, everyone else can benefit from the knowledge.

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- Corine La Font is a speaker, author, coach and self-publishing consultant. She is also an award-winning publishing resource in the 2013 Small Business Book Awards. Get a copy of her book at, Subscribe to her magazine at tune in to her radio programme at and check out her website at She can be reached at