Social Media Etiquette

I spoke with a local consulting firm a couple months ago about social media, and we started talking about social media etiquette. Because social media is so new and just starting to be widely adopted, there are not a lot of standards in place for etiquette. I was intrigued to find that one of the creators of Twitter has written a book that is becoming sort of the Strunk and White for Twitter, 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form.

Social media etiquette is still so new we are creating and breaking the rules all of the time. I’m often asked by nonprofits, “What should I or should I not post?” And it varies in each community. As you grow and develop your community, it is important that you provide consistent messaging and that you set the style and expectations for your community. If your community is used to seeing new content and thought provoking conversation, and you start posting a bunch of books people should purchase or sponsorship information, your community may react poorly.

I’m also finding that people are still figuring out how they like to receive information. With so many different mediums, you can update your fans, followers, donors in many ways. From a Facebook Page update to a group email, from a causes announcement to a LinkedIn group update, there are many ways to send out information about your nonprofit. Because we are so early in the adoption of these technologies, we do not always know which one works the best or what kind of etiquette to use with each different way of communication.

My advice is to listen to your community members and ask them what they think. What lessons have you learned in social media etiquette?


3 Responses to Social Media Etiquette

  1. Joe Garecht says:


    Here’s a quick tip: if you’re on social media sites for fundraising purposes, use proper grammar, spelling, and etiquette. No one will respect your organization if you’re not coming across as professional and stable.


  2. I’ve looked at approx. 200 UK charities on Twitter and the ones who tweet professionally seem to have the most respect and the most consistent, engaged followers. I was surprised by this – it runs counter to Twitter’s “tell the world what you’re having for lunch” philosophy, but I think it’s because people follow charities for a very specific reason (hint: it’s not personal). Yes, it’s fine to have a “real” person behind the tweets, but they come across better when they’re interesting but professional.

    Also, it’s useful as a platform when followers can get inside information they wouldn’t otherwise get; Twitter shouldn’t just be echoing your RSS feed or press releases.

    (BTW, just discovered your blog so I’m going to have a look around now. Great stuff so far!)

  3. […] We’re Reading, Week of 2/15 From A Small Change… Social Media Etiquette A helpful post from Jason at A Small Change about a how to approach the use of social media and the […]

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