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What’s your business digital etiquette?


This guide outlines how business etiquette has changed in the digital world, and how to negotiate the new rules.

The 1990s marked the appearance of the netiquette that defines the rules of social interactions online: Be polite, respectful, and honest. Rapidly, the digital revolution has ditched the idea of the online business etiquette to replace it with images of geeks, trolls, and nerds – but it is another story. Nowadays, the only business etiquette that you refer to is related to the powerful impact that you can make as an entrepreneur.

How to talk, how to look, and what to use are elements that belong to the entrepreneur business etiquette. But there is something else that belongs to your everyday business processes: Digital presence. So it may be important to revisit the 1990s business etiquette and look at ways of adjusting it to your current business needs.

Business etiquette in the digital era

In short, here’s why your business needs digital business etiquette today.

Get the business etiquette basics right

When you embrace business life, you almost inevitably embrace a digital presence too. Your business needs to be visible and accessible online for your customers. In short, you will need a basic website package – offers simple and effective solutions for small businesses – that is accessible from all devices. Naturally, your website needs to be readable for search engines, such as Google and Bing, so that potential customers can find you online… that’s business etiquette 101 these days

In other words, getting online is not enough, you need an SEO-compliant website too, that enables crawling and indexing for search engines. Your SEO presence is also facilitated by one or more active social media profiles as they are perceived as an extension of your digital presence. So far, so good: These are, as said, the basics of your business digital etiquette.

Think about your customers

Customers will primarily interact with your business via your website. It seems, therefore, logical that you should do everything that is in your power to keep this interaction sweet and simple. To put things differently, a website needs to be easy to navigate for visitors: It has to provide a clear User Experience, or UX. In short, visitors who can’t find what they need on your website will choose to buy from a competitor.

Additionally, the first impression that most users will get from your business is online: So, it’s essential to make it a positive one by providing informative content and simple navigation. As a rule of the thumb, users tend to leave a website that confuses them. Given that the online attention span is below 12 seconds, you want to give the best possible user experience.

Don’t insult their intelligence

There’s a common misbelief in less-researched marketing campaigns: People need testimonials to build trust. In truth, around 90% of digital users automatically assume that testimonials are made up marketing messages. What does this mean? People are not stupid; they are not easily convinced by the testimonials that they read on your website.

But they trust independent customer opinions from review websites, so you can repurpose positive reviews as long as you link back to them. In certain industry sectors, you can create case studies using powerful visuals, such as a before/after shot, for example. Users will prefer statistics and visual proofs of your success over testimonials.

Get the targeting right

When you choose to create an online campaign, it’s important to start from scratch: This means by doing a thorough audience research and profiling before posting your message online. Take a look at that built a case study of wrong targeting: Vera Bradley who launched last year a campaign called “why it’s good to be a girl”. At first, the girl power campaign seemed like a good idea, but the marketing team focused on outdated and clichés statements that brought a negative feedback.

Coca-Cola recently published a winter land map of Russia in a promotional campaign, except that the map dated from before World War II. Needless to say that the Russian customers were not impressed. In short, do your business etiquette research and avoid upsetting your target audience unnecessarily.

Keep a cool head in crisis situations

Finally, it’s a fact of every business etiquette interaction: Sometimes things don’t go as you intended. Worse, customers can send complaints about an issue they have with your products or your customer services. More and more often, these complaints are posted online. It’s important to develop a polite and active response policy to negative comments and reviews on social media and independent review websites. But a negative review is not a bad thing: It’s the lack of response to it that causes the most damages. So get your social media and customer team trained to handle negative reviews in a constructive and effective way.

13 tips for better business etiquette in digital communication

1. Spelling.

First of all, it shows our knowledge of the language. A well-written and well-written message is a very elegant business etiquette way to show respect to another person.

2. Use of autocorrect.

In case our spelling is not perfect: it is always necessary to read a message before sending it to be able to change any inappropriate word that gives perverse meaning to our message.

3. Voice messages.

Voice messages are appropriate business etiquette only with general consent and only if absolutely necessary. Not all and not always have the possibility to listen to them. It is best to duplicate any information transmitted by voice in writing as soon as possible. In any case, you should not voice message account numbers, phone numbers, addresses, foreign names, and names where errors are possible.

4. Emoji.

In Internet correspondence, it is difficult to understand the intonation of the interlocutor due to the lack of facial expressions, looks, voice timbre, etc., so emoticons can be of help in informal business etiquette . But the mixture of emoticons in a text makes it difficult to understand what is written.

– Do not use emoticons in the middle of a sentence;

– No need to replace words with emoticons;

– Ideally, formal correspondence should not contain them.

5. Split the messages.

Dividing a message into several small messages creates confusion. In addition to the fact that such a message is very uncomfortable to read, it also happens that one has not yet finished expressing his idea, and the second has already begun to respond.

6. Links, images, documents.

If it is necessary to send a link to a third-party resource, it is important to indicate what it is and why. Otherwise it can be considered spam and in some cases leads to account ban for suspicious activity.

It is better to refrain from sending large files through chats and better to use mail for it. A large document may not load from a phone, and it is also not very convenient to read long text from a small screen.

7. Unknown numbers and emails without warning.

Many people consider a message from an unknown number or an email from an unidentified address an invasion of their private space. That is why it is advisable to use a new number or email, introduce yourself in first words.

8. Writing in capital letters.

Do not draw attention to your message by using only capital letters. Capital letters are perceived by many as a scream or aggression. Therefore, it is better to use other tools to attract attention.

9. Business talk for business etiquette

In a business talk, communication should be strictly formal, courteous, and as short as possible.

10. Block the chat.

Do not obstruct the work chat with strange messages such as: good morning wishes, congratulations, blessings, greetings and long goodbyes, etc. Information is lost, questions remain unanswered. As a result, people are upset with this form of communication.

11. Official correspondence.

In official correspondence there is no business etiquette obligation to respond instantly to messages. But if a message is read and left unresponsive for a long time, it could suggest that the person is being ignored.

If it is not possible to reply to a message quickly (for example, you need to look up some information), then it is best to give a short answer: I will reply a little later, check and write to you, etc.

12. Messages after hours.

Don’t be surprised if an after-hours work message goes unanswered.

13. Abbreviations.

In the work chat, well-known professional abbreviations are available that all participants can interpret. This is justified because it reduces writing time. It is better to refrain from using abbreviations and leave them for teenagers.

About Business Woman Media

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