What Are the Rules of Engagement?

Best practices lead to professional and ethical social media marketing.

Respect, integrity, transparency, and honesty—these are qualities we value in our personal and professional lives. Where do they fit in your online world?

As businesses and community members, we must always hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards. When we do, we create positive, fulfilling, and productive communities and relationships. The same is true online.

Holding yourself to ethical behavior online is a lot like being a good neighbor in the real world. You treat others the way you hope to be treated. You respect boundaries and present yourself in an open and honest way. You also recognize there may be times when you need to be smart about interactions—or at least double check information before spreading it around.

Similar to working in a brick-and-mortar office, your online workplace also benefits from selecting rules and structures.

A social media policy can help employees and patrons understand their role and what’s expected of their behavior online. And if a negative situation arises online—in the form of a disgruntled community member, negative review, or unfortunate breaking news story—a crisis management plan and decision tree can help you leap into action in a cool and level-headed way.

Social media is constantly evolving, so you might not grasp how an interaction that works on Facebook is inappropriate for LinkedIn. Additionally, elements of anonymity, fast-moving content and opinions, and digital communications can make the internet feel like the Wild West.

Thankfully, the Social Media Code of Conduct from the Communications Council aims to provide specific guidance on best practices. Their simple breakdown of dos and don’ts, suggested practices, and helpful direction is easy to digest and translate to your life.

Being online is like being in the classroom—we will always be learning something new. But good manners will never go out of style.



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