GROW! Marketing and Public Relations Tips

What Would Emily Post Say... Do you Follow Social Media Etiquette?

Posted by Katie Dubow on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 @ 9:35 AM

I usually start off Saturday mornings by catching up on some of my favorite blogs... from design, fashion and of course, those from the garden industry, I get my fill of information for the week! But this weekend, I read a particularly different post about social media etiquette.

Etiquette.  Ahhh... society has gotten so far from the writings in the very first Emily Post Blue book.  And as the rules of social media evolve, how does etiquette evolve with it? 

No, I'm not saying change is bad.  Change is good!  It's just that there are some basic principals of etiquette that should never change, on or offline:

Be kind.  Treat others with respect.  Show your appreciation.

This post will offer tips on how we can continue to follow these basic principals for these social media platforms: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Otherwise, we all will have Miss Post rolling in her grave. 



Grace Bonny of Design Sponge has a few suggestions for proper pinning etiquette:

Pin what you have permission to pin. I know this is probably archaic and old-school of me, but I genuinely hope people respect photographers, stylists and content creators and can credit them as often as possible. When it doubt, making an effort to credit the artist is awesome.

Don’t do what I did and upload too much on one day. I learned my lesson. Space out your pins and don’t flood people’s feeds. Although, admittedly, I follow some people whose taste is so exquisite that I’d happily read their feed-floods all day. Especially the cat-related ones.


At its core, Facebook is all about the status update. How else would you know what your best friends dog ate for breakfast? But be careful not to abuse the five most facebook etiquetteobnoxious kinds of updates:

  • Intentionally vague posts,
  • Chronic complaining,
  • Meaningless calls to action,
  • Oversharing
  • Posting too frequently

Tag With Care: Tagging photos of your friends and family with their names is a great way to share your photos, but not everyone wants pictures of themselves at a party splashed across the Internet. So either give friends a heads up, or, let them tag themselves.  

Friending and unfriending: Yes, I am a culprit.  I have Facebook friends I have never met in real life.  But one of the great things about Facebook is connecting with those with whom you share common interests.  (Plus, I have the hope of one day meeting these folks.)  Yet, the etiquette lies here says Bonney, "I think it’s important to respect people’s privacy, and if they want to keep an account private for a reason, respect that."


The rules of Twitter seem more relaxed; grammar and spelling are often out the window since we are forced to produce in 140 characters or less. But here a few etiquette suggestions from Real Simple:

Following (and unfollowing): No, if someone starts following you on Twitter you are not obligated to return the gesture. But keep in mind that you’ll have a better experience if you are connected to more people: That is how online communities are built, after all. Yet Twitter seems to be the main battle ground for online fights, trolls, weird impostor accounts and Debbie Downers. Overall, it’s best to stick to the facts. If someone’s responding with an opinion that you don’t like, just ignore it. If they do nothing but respond with opinions you don’t like, you can always unfollow. So what happens if someone calls you out for unfollowing (or unfriending)? Be honest, recommends Post: “You can tell them you didn’t feel like you were really connecting online. Hopefully since they’ve asked for an explanation, they are prepared for an honest answer."

Retweets, replies, and mentions: The second way to really build conversation on Twitter is by including other people in your posts. Just broadcasting what you think and what you’re doing (if you aren’t a celebrity) won’t win you many followers. Instead, interact with the people you’re following and who are following you through retweets (posting what someone else has shared), replies (answering a question or giving an opinion on someone’s update), and mentions (tagging other users by including their Twitter names in your tweet, which makes it more likely that they’ll see it). As with anything, use restraint—you don’t want to end up spamming your connections.


Lately there has been a lot of chatter/controversy about Instagram. But the bottom line is, Instagram has "vowed that users would still own their photos and nothing has changed.  So here are our etiquette suggestions:

Don't be generic. How many times have we seen this shot? Instagram is a place to showcase your creativity and individuality-not your conformity.

Don't indulgeinstagram public relations media plan in food porn. Again, generic. But, this shot is even worse. If you're about to eat a yummy meal at the office, let your stomach enjoy it, not your plethora of Instagram followers.

Don't be vein. Oh, so that's what the people behind your company are wearing in the office. No matter how much you love that new pair of shoes or blazer, have some class, and keep it in office. This personal snapshot doesn't reflect your brand's persona, so steer clear.

Don't be a tagging fool. Same rules as Facebook.  Either steer clear of tagging or give your friends a heads up if you’re going to live-Instagram someone.

In the end, the best thing to remember is that social media is VERY public.  Even if you’re careful, it’s best to follow the rule my mother always taught me: "Don't post anything that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times."

Topics: Twitter, SEO, Instagram, social media, blogging, facebook

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