How you behave online says a lot about your values and integrity so it pays to play nice, be kind and to watch your netiquette.

So what do I mean about netiquette exactly? Let me explain.

As a business owner you'll be spending a lot of time online growing your online visibility through social media and your website. Unfortunately, some people aren't aware that there are certain unwritten rules when it comes to your online presence that if you break can at best harm your reputation and at worst see you cop a cease and desist or a fine.

Netiquette is simply a combination of the word net and etiquette.

Here are some examples of bad netiquette....

It's not ok to slide into someone's DMs

From time to time I get a DM (direct message) or PM (personal message) from a stranger touting their business offering to me. This is not ok and it's basically spam. If your marketing strategy involves messaging strangers in the vain hope they will want to buy from you then you're wasting your time. And, you come across sounding like an idiot.

Just last night on a Facebook group I commented on a post. Next thing I know some stranger PMs me saying 'hey would you like me to send you some information about my business Miss?' Firstly MISS? No thank you Lady I do not want to hear from you again!

It's not OK to use someone else's content or photo

'But it was on Pinterest so I thought it was ok' some say. No it's not ok.

Just because a photo or an illustration is online or was sent to you by a client doesn't make it yours to use.

If you want to use someone's photo or content then you at the very least must contact the owner to ask for permission and IF they say yes you MUST tag them into the post.

If you don't seek permission then you may find a cease and desist order land in your mail box so be warned!

Tagging yourself into other people's Instagram accounts

Whilst I can see why this is a potentially good Instagram strategy, you must ONLY tag yourself into someone's page if you have some sort of alignment with them.

For example, if you're a wedding photographer and you have an amazing photo of a venue that you took at a wedding then absolutely tag the wedding venue.

But if you've never done any work with the venue and the photo you're tagging doesn't even relate then this is not ok.

You must respect people's privacy at all times.

Remember to show gratitude

Online groups and forums are a great way to seek advice and to demonstrate your knowledge and credibility.

In the event you're seeking advice and someone provides you with some then say thank you. It takes a millisecond and is the right thing to do.

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