During the month of May, and a few other specials times throughout the year, I often recall the goodness I learned from my mother, my grandmother, Nana, and other key women in my life. While they were all very unique women, they collectively imparted to me some pretty key manners that are still valid today.

How so, you ask? Isn’t much of that old school etiquette stuff out of date? Nope. Surprisingly, many of the manners I learned from these women are even more important today given our busy, noisy, and often impersonal digital environment.

So, make your mom, grandmother, aunt, or similar maternal figure proud this month by applying these basic etiquette rules to your social media interactions:

  • Say please or ask nicely – A pretty straightforward rule, but so often completely ignored. Just because we may use short messages (particularly in Twitter), it doesn’t mean you should skip a polite ask. For instance, when I want to make a connection on LinkedIn, I do NOT use the standard message; instead, I write a personal note stating why I want to network with them. I want them to feel special and not like I’m just trying to grow my network. Perhaps, we met at a meeting, or I think we have some common interests; whatever the reason, I make a personalized and polite request.
  • Say thank you – When you make a LinkedIn connection request and it’s accepted, take the time to say thank you. This only takes a few minutes, and if you have a shortcut tool like the Chrome Auto Text Expander, you can have most of the message pre-crafted and then just plug in a few personalized notes (this works for that connection request as well).
  • Be a good listener – If you’re talking, you’re not learning. Take the time to listen to others before you engage. When you join a LinkedIn Group, listen first; get a read on the participants, the topics discussed, the tone, and what is and isn’t appropriate. Listening is also a good way to learn about your clients, prospects and centers of influence. Listen (read) their LinkedIn profiles, and pay particular attention to their interests and how they talk about themselves. Facebook and Twitter are also good listening channels.
  • If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all – Granted, it’s often hard to keep criticism to yourself, but save those pointed comments for review sites, like TripAdvisor or OpenTable (where you don’t need to include your name). Remember, the internet never forgets; you post something today and it is forever retrievable.
  • Spellcheck and proofread – Granted, no one is perfect, but please make an attempt to review your updates before you post them. For longer pieces, be sure to ask someone else to give them a quick read-through (and of course, if applicable, have compliance review as well).

Sure, some old fashioned ideas no longer apply today. However, good manners and basic etiquette are still valid, and in fact can be a good way for you to stand out from the crowd.


With 25 years in the financial services industry, Sheri is a recognized influencer, popular social media speaker, and a creative marketing force. As president of ShoeFitts Marketing, she collaborates with broker/dealers, financial advisors, third-party administrators, and financial professionals to help them leverage marketing tools and social media strategies to make meaningful connections that build business and grow sales.

Be Sociable, Share!