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Julia Doherty

Squirrel Nutkin

Remember your etiquette ...

Posted on: 08/10/2012   By: Julia Doherty

I guess for most of us etiquette isn't something that we spend a lot of time thinking about, unless of course you spend a lot of time corresponding with Peers of the Realm, in which case I suspect that Debretts is a well thumbed book on your shelf ...

remember your etiquette or like squirrel nutkin you could loose your tail

remember your etiquette or like squirrel nutkin you could loose your tail

As for the rest of us, the most we really think about is probably how to address someone in a letter, we know the spelling and the grammar ought to be correct and then the real confusion begins as to how we sign it off. With the advent of email, this has changed a great deal hasn't it? We often begin them with Hi or Hello and then sign them off with Thanks or Kind Regards - whichever we have programmed into our automatic signature.

But now we seem to be communicating more and more by social media, and everyone knows it's about relationships, so is etiquette more important or less important? I think that in some ways we all react like Old Brown in The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. In the beginning, we ignore the impertinence, then we tend to get a little huffy and sign off early, until ultimately we decide to unfriend, unlike or unfollow.

So what are the biggest parts of social media etiquette?

Twitter ...

  • People don't really like to hear about the minutiae of your day - so keep your tweets interesting rather than post about the coffee you are drinking.

  • It is all about the restriction of 140 characters so please don't string several of them together to form a rant - it would wiser to write a blog post!

  • Avoid spamming. Whilst twitter is a fast moving environment posting the same things over and over again will make people unfollow you. Your content should have some benefit to your readers.

LinkedIn ...

  • It's quick and easy, but you should never allow the LinkedIn generated message to go out when you are inviting someone to connect or requesting an endorsement or recommendation, it should always be a personal message from you to them!

  • Avoid copying in your tweets or facebook updates to your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is definitely a business environment and the over familiar, informal approach of facebook and the short, terse bursts of info and #tags for twitter do not go down so well. It tends to smack of laziness and posting for the sake of posting rather than sharing information to benefit your contacts.

  • And the biggest no no of all? Don't request a recommendation or endorsement from someone who you haven't met or someone who hasn't used your services. Your requests for testimonials should go to people you know and have used your product and service.

Facebook ...

  • Your friends list should reflect people you know offline and people you have been introduced to online. It is ok for people to suggest you become friends with someone you have never met but you should never invite a complete stranger to be your friend.

  • Because Facebook is a slower timeline than twitter, it is even more important not to spam people with your status updates every 10 minutes, for businesses though make sure your page updates are not repetitive.

  • If people write directly on your wall or make a comment on your updates then it is only polite to reply or acknowledge them in someway - especially important for business pages.

Squirrel Nutkin annoyed Old Brown Owl so much with his impertinence that he nearly got eaten! So remember your etiquette when working with your social media channels or you're going to annoy people and they'll unfriend, unlike or unfollow you!

To learn more about twitter you can join me, Julia Doherty from Green Umbrella and my friends at the Daventry Tweet UP on 22nd November. Call me on +44 (0) 1604 726758 to find out more.

Until next time ...


More about Julia Doherty ...


Julia Doherty ran a successful recruitment agency for many years. Business was good but it was when she started to use social media that the business took off to the extent that she was able to sell her agency to a major national chain.

Julia now runs Green Umbrella, using her experience to teach others how to maximise social media to enhance their business.


+44 (0) 1604 726758


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