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Gini Dietrich

The 10 Commandments of Online Etiquette

By: Gini Dietrich | September 17, 2012 | 
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How many of you love to receive spam email?

How about when you meet someone and they automatically add your to their newsletter list?

And how many of you love to get information that talks all about the sender and tells you nothing valuable?

How often do you unsubscribe to email lists and newsletters?

How many of you know organizations that push their messages via the social networks, but don’t use it to engage, network, or build community? I’d venture to guess every one of you.

If you are right with me – you hate this stuff – I want to know why you do this to others when you get behind your computer at work.

Some Examples

I ask these questions when I speak, particularly when I do three or four hour workshops. It allows us to dig deep into why people do this at work, but hate it as a consumer or buyer.

A few weeks ago, I was doing some research on different programs for a CRM for a client. I spoke to five different companies. Of the five, three added me to their newsletter list without my permission. Simply because I called looking for additional information.

And, last week, I received an email from a company telling me they’ve added me to their email distribution list and to let them know if that’s not OK. This is not a company I’ve ever communicated with. They just decided I was a good target and went ahead and added me. But I guess it makes it OK if they tell me they’re adding me?

I’m sure this is a sales technique of some sort. Maybe it’s to see if I check my email and, if I respond (even if it’s to say no, it’s not OK they added me to their list), they know it’s a viable email address. Or maybe it’s a list building tactic, which means the organization is focused on the wrong things.

I’ve become afraid to answer emails from strangers at all.

Why do all of us hate this, but a good majority of us use this tactic, when it comes to online marketing?

The 10 Commandments of Online Etiquette

Perhaps there isn’t a one size fits all equation and maybe you’re focused simply on numbers instead of conversions, but I’d like to think there is some online etiquette we all should consider.

Therefore, I have created the 10 Commandments of online etiquette.

  1. Thou shalt not add anyone to your newsletter list without their consent.
  2. Thou shalt not send a LinkedIn invite that says, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”
  3. Thou shalt not post your news releases as blog posts.
  4. Thou shalt not talk about yourselves in your communications.
  5. Thou shalt not use your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn accounts as news feeds for your organization.
  6. Thou shalt not create newsletters that talk about how great you, your leadership, your products, or your services are without putting them in context of the buyer.
  7. Thou shalt not build lists, fans, followers, connections, or circles just for the sake of numbers.
  8. Thou shalt not abuse your online power.
  9. Thou shalt not email bloggers, journalists, influencers, or target audiences without doing your research, building a relationship, and giving them something of value … to them, not you.
  10. Thou shalt not engage in black hat email marketing.
What else would you add?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

149 comments
CITRAPUTRI_
CITRAPUTRI_

Festival Raja Ampat 2012, Waisai, 18-21 Oktober 2012 @TourRajaAmpat @FortuneID @spinsucks #rajaampat

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

How many more you want? NO seriously? How many?!

 

- Thou shalt not auto-DM. Ever.- Thou shalt not pretend an announcement for a book tour or webinar is 'content.' 

- Thou shalt say NO to popups.

- Thou shalt not speak of 'social' and engagement whilst never leaving your own blog, ignoring the unwashed masses who don't have the *gack* Klout.

- Thou shalt not play hashtag bingo with tweets.

 

Damn, wish I'd seen this sooner, I coulda added so, so many more. FWIW.

OasisEventsIndy
OasisEventsIndy

@kyleplacy Everyone who ever uses the internet needs to read this!

dokker_miami
dokker_miami

@kyleplacy @ginidietrich It's all about being relevant and creating a relationship based on trust. Trusting the source is key. #expertise

susansilver
susansilver

Yes, Yes, Yes.

 

I get frustrated with clients that do not understand that you cannot add people to lists without permission. I had to bring this one up with one recently. I finally got them to move their list to Mail Chimp where it is easy to set up the opt-in method for new subscribers. Which is converting a heck of a lot better.

write4unj
write4unj

Excellent! A few of my pet peeves:

 

1.) if you do add me to your e-mail list, don't just have somewhere for me to unsubscribe, make it easy for me to change the e-mail address that you send to (so I can get your newsletter out of my primary business e-mail address and into the secondary one set up to receive newsletters, etc.).

 

2.) If you send me a LinkedIn connection and we share a group, use that as your introduction, don't say you're my "friend" when I don't actually know you.

 

3.) If you want me to respect you as an online, marketing expert, do not have an AOL contact e-mail address.

LeighBordelon
LeighBordelon

Thou shalt not ask me to "like" your page when it's BLANK. 

Britopian
Britopian

@ant0ineh me too. several ... : )

rdopping
rdopping

Crap! As a casual blogger this list is daunting. I am sure I have violated some of these in some way. Live and learn. So, uh, thanks.

 

No. 8 is a big, big deal because I have more that 250 twitter followers now so I have to start to watch what I do.....;-)

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

When you get pissed watch out.

 

The big thing I have an issue with is push content on social. It is OK to include some in your social media content. But if you aren't going to talk WITH me see ya,

 

As for email stuff I have blogged that we get so much it is all spam. We signed up for most of it bit we get so much it looks like spam. So you had better stand out from the crowd.

 

But number 7 hehehehe

Leon
Leon

G'Day Gini,

And..... "thou shalt shake in your shoes and bubble in your boots if  Gini D catches you  breaking one of these commandments. Love the list

 

Have more fun.

Best Wishes

Leon

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

Sometimes I envision you like the Virgin Mary (a sweet mid-western gal) who sits at the right hand of God with these commandments and lessons that deserve to be put on stone.

 

But with your spice and robust flavor I really think you are more like a tangy  Bloody Mary, easily stirred by the stalk of social media, salty around the edge, pleasantly setting our heads in a spin and easy to swallow. And yes, we always want another. 

ladylucas94
ladylucas94

@AmyVernon @ginidietrich I like that Amy though I know I'm guilty some of them ! Yikes!

CydM
CydM

@JeffSheehan @spinsucks ...love the etiquette tips. Thanx.

HeidiZuhl
HeidiZuhl

A journalist recently reminded a PRSA-SF gathering: Known when to take conversations offline w/ reporters in order to avoid oversharing his/her story angle, sources, etc.

jeffespo
jeffespo

@Britopian who hasn't though

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

I'm just really thankful for the DMs that warn me about all the people saying terrible stuff about me. What would I do without those? 

FelicityFields
FelicityFields

@ginidietrich I would also add "or websites" to #6 (writing email newsletters all about the company and no buyer context)

ShakirahDawud
ShakirahDawud

@ginidietrich I know, right? Let's plug all the loopholes...

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @Leon thank you for the comment. We just added you to the @ginidietrich candle of the month club newsletter. This months candle is a lemon verbania soy tapered candle. It will be shipped and billed to you unless you opt out. If you opt out @belllindsay will hand deliver a case and extract payment from you at that time. Thank you for your comment.

Britopian
Britopian

@jeffespo I have multiple priors on many of those offenses ;-)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@ShakirahDawud The other soapbox I'm on that you will appreciate is the writing one. Freaking learn how to write for business!

Leon
Leon

 @HowieG  @ginidietrich  @belllindsay 

Howie,

I'm just so flattered to have attracted you attention; not only flattered----really honoured. Really! But I'd prefer my candle to have eucalyptus regnans aroma. I'm sure that you can arrange that. You could even write a post about ungrateful Aussie curmudgeons who peer intensely into the mouths of gifthorses.

 

I've often wondered what an "AHA" moment was really like. Now I know. 

 

I'm quite overcome. I also have a 12th Commandment "Thou shalt arrange Howie to respond to your blog comments"

 

Thankyou, Thankyou

 

Leon

jeffespo
jeffespo

@Britopian I am sure that you are past the statutes of limitations on this...

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @ginidietrich your blog post comments inspire me to be the 'valued added' art of your blog. Think of those infomercials that say 'and that's not all!'

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