Sunday, May 11, 2014

Social Media Sunday: The Unspoken Rules of Blogging Etiquette

Welcome to Social Media Sunday, a monthly series where we discuss various social media and blogging topics. If you've been following along the last few months, we've talked about how to increase engagement on Facebook, what NOT to do on Twitter, I offered a free blog planner download, shared with you my blog stats, and my favorite blogging resources. Look for future posts in the coming months on how to grow your following using Pinterest and Instagram.

There are some unspoken rules of blogging etiquette, so I thought for this month's Social Media Sunday, I would speak of them. A lot of these rules aren't really rules, per se, more like common courtesy.


Remember my first rule of blogging and social media, Social MEdia is not all about ME. (I say that a lot, I know, but it is important.) Keep in mind that a a sizable portion of the bloggers who follow you, who comment on your blog, who share your content, are doing so because (at least on some level) they want you to do the same for them. It's more about them than it is about you.

A lot of these "rules" simply follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Link Love
There are a lot of blogger support groups on Facebook who host daily link love threads where the idea is to leave your link and, hence the name link love, give some love back to other links in the thread. It is considered bad practice to routinely leave your link but not return the love to other bloggers (i.e. link and run). I don't think it is necessary to comment on every blog in thread (sometimes those suckers get long), but for every link you leave, look for at least three other posts that genuinely interest you, and leave a thoughtful comment or share it on social media. Remember to "like" the comment in the thread so the blogger knows you gave love. 

Although it is bad practice to leave a link and run, I think it might be worse to call-out a blogger you think has not returned any love. People are going to do what they want. They are only hurting themselves if they don't return link love, because people eventually will catch on and stop supporting them in the threads. There is also a chance that you could be wrong. It happened to me. I liked a comment in a thread where someone asked people to follow their Facebook page. I did like the page from my personal Facebook page, but apparently Facebook did not show this person that I did it right away, and they tried to call me out for liking the comment in the thread but not liking the Facebook page. This only annoyed me and I unfollowed the page, so she lost a follower. Oh, the blogger drama! You can't force people to follow the rules. If someone is not playing fair, make a mental note and move on.

When leaving a link in a link love thread and asking people to share, ask yourself, is this sharable content? If you have a health and fitness blog, but write up a nice little post about your fifth grader's birthday party, that is great for you and your audience who may be interested in reading about these things, but it is not necessarily something that you should be asking someone else to share. I personally don't share every single blog post that I write in link love, just the ones that are most important to me. I think it is OK to do so, as long as your content has some value to people outside your regular readers and you are routinely returning the love.

There should be no pressure to share or comment on something that you don't agree with, believe in, or otherwise wouldn't naturally support. If someone shares a blog (or pin or tweet) on cloth baby diapers, this is not inline with my lifestyle, blog or audience, and it is not something I would share. That's OK. Look for things that are a natural fit for your audience, there is plenty of it out there.

Blog Comments
If another blogger comments on your blog post, you should respond to the comment on your post and try to visit their blog and return a comment or a social media share. If a blog post has a lot of comments, but zero responses from the blogger, it gives the impression of a disengaged blogger. I understand that we are all busy and if you get a lot of comments, you might not be able to return a comment every single time.  However, you should at least make an honest effort and catch up on the blogs who are supporting yours, especially the people who repeatedly leave comments. On the other hand, if you don't have something meaningful to add, it may be better not to say anything at all. I had someone leave a comment on my blog that said "I don't run and I don't like dogs, but nice post." I appreciate the effort to leave a comment, but honestly, if you have absolutely no interest in what I am writing, then it is not necessary to leave a comment. No hard feelings. I am also a firm believer that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Focus your time and energies on things you care about and where you can leave a positive mark.

Blog Hops//Link Parties
If you add your link to a link party you should provide a link back to the host(s) of the link party in your blog post. They took the time to host, they are likely paying for the link service, and they are helping you drive traffic to your blog, the least you can do is link back.

Once you leave a link in a link party, it is also good practice to visit and leave a comment (or share) on a few of the other links. You don't have to visit every single post, but visit a few and leave comments, because if everyone follows these rules, you'll get more views and comments on your post too.

Social Media Shares
If someone shares my content on Twitter, I'll try to look through their feed and see if there is something that I can share that makes sense for my audience. If someone gives my Facebook page a shout out, I'll try to return the favor. Across all social media channels, I'll make an effort to return the favor when someone helps me and generally try to give more than I take. It will eventually come back around to you.

I didn't mention any of the spoken rules of blogging etiquette, like don't steal pictures or content from the Internet or bad mouth other bloggers. Did I miss anything? Are there any other unspoken rules of blogging etiquette? It's all common sense, right? Or as my husband likes to say...uncommon sense


Like this post? Please consider sharing.

Keep Running,


Lea

p.s. Happy mother's day to all the mother runners and the fur baby mommies out there! Whether you are a mommy or celebrating your own momma today, I hope you have a great day.

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69 comments :

  1. Lea I love this..and so true...I try so hard myself to get caught up on blog readings...going through my faves first and then finding new ones. Commenting is huge, it makes us feel like we are not talking to ourselves :) and who doesn't love a little comment here and there, just makes our day and makes us feel as if someone is really interested in our words :)

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    1. I know and it can be really time consuming. I'm not always perfect, but I try to give support to my fellow bloggers!!

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  2. Lea you've made some great points here. Especially about the importance of adding value when you comment on others' blogs or share their posts on your social media channels. One thing I'd like to encourage people to think about is to take a longer view on the whole Link Love thing. I don't post in Link Love threads every day, because I don't always have the time to reciprocate. That being said, I do go through those threads and share appropriate content nearly every day.

    Some days I 'drop' my link and run, because the I need support on the post. If you were to look at my shares using a tit-for-tat model within a day, you'd think I was abusing the system. I think we need to take a longer view of the whole thing. Just like each and every meal doesn't have to be perfect, as long as the balance is good over the entire week, each day's participation/lack of participation in link love shouldn't be judged alone.

    Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

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    1. I agree completely! I think as long as you are sharing on a regular basis you are doing it right! I think some people do abuse the system and always link but never return the favor. thanks for your input!

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  3. Great post. As a newbie blogger, I rely a lot on posts like these to make sure I don't offend anyone in the blogging world. I remember reading tons of posts about Twitter before even attempting a retweet because I was so afraid I would do something wrong! I will definitely be checking out your other "Social Media Sunday" posts. Thanks for the info!

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    1. Great! glad I could help! I do think that in most cases that some of things happen because the person doesn't know any better, these are the things that we all learn along the way! (love your blog by the way!)

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  4. Wow, Lea! Great post. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am glad to realize I am doing it right. :)
    I will make sure I read the previous entries as well. I have to much to learn and improve....

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    1. Thanks Debbie - it's nice to know we are on the right track! :)

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  5. I can't seem to get the direct reply to Tamara's comment to work above so I'll post a general reply - I think she makes a good point! I do have those days where I drop my link and run in various groups, but then other days when I'm all over the group or LL thread finding interesting new stuff and commenting. I think the past few weeks have gotten kind of busy for me and I've gotten behind on blog commenting or I'll read stuff from my phone and it's hard to comment, but overall I love the return-the-visit mindset.

    And thanks for mentioning the blog linkup etiquette - it is nice when people link back to the hosts of the linkup (I co-host two), and for me it's not necessarily about giving me hits but the fact that joining in a linkup provides you the opportunity for new readers to find your blog/post and discover your content. And if you don't link back to the original blog(s) with the list of others in the linkup, then it kind of defeats the point - you're getting new viewers but isn't it nice for your readers to know you're participating in a linkup and find the list and other posts on that theme or along those lines? I think I've dropped my link in one once when it was a random joining in of a linkup, but otherwise have linked back to the other blogs and visited others in the linkup.

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    1. I agree! I was mostly referring to the habitual link and run. We are all busy and know blogging takes a lot of time (and real life often should come first) I agree with Tamara that as long as over time you are loving as much as you are linking, you are playing fair! :)

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  6. Thanks for this post!! I concur with most of these, it's really hard to keep up with following a million blogs, but I do my best!!

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    1. I agree that is impossible to keep up with following a million blogs!! I think as long as we are making an effort, we are doing the right thing. I often play catch-up on the weekend!!

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  7. as always, great post and good advice!! I sometimes deposit my link and run in the morning on link loves. Then return on my lunch hour or in the evening when I actually have time to follow up with comments, shares etc. And also thanks for mentioning the link up/hop etiquette! I co-host a weekly linkup and often see the same people dropping their link with no mention of me or my cohosts in the post!! on principal I will not leave a comment or my cohosts and I will send a note or just delete the link. Happy Mom's day Ollie's mom :)

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    1. Yes, I do exactly the same thing... I leave the link in the morning and play catch up later in the day...or sometimes even the next day!! :) Most of this is common courtesy and I think most bloggers "get it"

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  8. Great post, as usual. I agree on returning the link love, but I have to be sensitive to my audience and so I won't share something that is not shareable (great example!) or that conflicts with what I believe in. I do take the long view of who "shares back" and don't even really want tit-for-tat comments -- I'd rather build genuine relationships and networks.

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    1. I totally agree. If a comment isn't meaningful, it doesn't have the same impact, so better to leave comments where they make the most sense. Sometimes if I dont have anything to say to add value to the post, I may just share it on social media and sometimes I may do nothing. That is just the way it is! I think the best way to build genuine relationships is to comment on the things and share the things that are meaningful to you.

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  9. Hi Y'all!

    First, Happy Mother's Day! Hope you're enjoying yourself!

    Second, visiting and commenting makes a huge difference in the number of pageviews. When I run out of time because of long hours of work and travel and can't visit, the page views drop noticeably. My regular commenters tend to be more tolerant and stick by me, kind of like family.

    I keep the badge for the blog hops in my sidebar, though I'm often guilty of failing to mention the co-hosts in the blog itself...I'll have to work on that one.

    Y'all come on by,
    BrownDog's Human

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    1. Yeah I find when I give a lot, it comes back around to me. I think the badge in the side bar is acceptable, maybe even better because it is there all the time, just not in one post. just my opinion!

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  10. Can you share some of these groups so us newbie bloggers can get some love?

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    1. There is a fitness blog group called "Fitness Media in Motion" that is small, so there is a lot of great support there. Do a FB search for that one. I also am a Sweat Pink, FitFluential, and Girls Gone Sporty ambassador and those groups all have their own form of Link Loves.... and Texas Women Bloggers and SIITS girls.... I think that is it... lol - so many groups!

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  11. Great tips! In regards to the link love, I usually dont "like" the post to let them know I commented, but I will do that from now on!

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    1. I dont think it is the worst thing ever if you don't...it is just nice to see where a share or comment came from. I will see that someone liked my post in a thread then see that same person made a comment or shared, it is just nice to know where it came from. Then I know people are returning the love.

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  12. Great tips! There is so many "rules" of the blogging game. This is a guide I wish I had when I first started!

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    1. I know! I think these are all the things that we just all learn along the way!

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  13. Ok so I have a question. Is it ok to invite your personal friends to like your page? I have had some people invite me and I really don't mind and like following my friends pages, but I might be the exception. I never want to be pushy and your advice would be great!

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    1. I invite my personal friends to like my fan page, I figure if they don't want to like it then they won't. I personally don't think it is pushy!

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  14. Nice post Lea. This brought to light a bunch of things that I wasnt aware of even though I've been blogging for a couple of years. You have a fantastic site here! Congrats to you!

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  15. Great post. Although I am not really new to blogging, I still have so much to learn about the sharing/linking part! I feel that my blog is pretty lame most of the time, I am not much of a writer and just started my blog as more of a therapeutic thing for myself and for a couple of friends that live out of state! I would like to learn more though and connect with other people! I will have a little more time on my hands this week and plan on reading more and trying to figure this out! Thanks for the help! Love your blog!
    Pam

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    1. I dont think your blog is lame at all! Keep it up!!! :)

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  16. I am guilty of not replying to comments on my actual blog. I always email them back privately instead. I never know if the reply on the blog actually gets sent to them or not, so maybe I should do both.

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    1. you are replying! I think that is the important thing. You do have a point though. I try to reply to most of the comments that warrant a reply, but how many people actually come back to read to see if I replied? I don't usually go back and check comments I've left on other blogs, unless I asked a specific question. I'm sure they are not getting any notifications. I guess, if for nothing else new people reading the thread of comments may get something out of the back and forth!

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  17. Social Media Sundays are some of my favorite posts of the week. Thanks for giving back to the blogging community!

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  18. These are great "rules". Most of it is common courtesy, and it's a great reminder! :-)

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  19. Very helpful post with so much great information. I also love some of the ideas I've picked up in the comments. :) I think it's important to keep in mind that we all blog on different schedules. I know bloggers who catch up on all the link love posts on the weekend because they work full time. I try to have the attitude that we are all doing the best we can and not judge someone if they don't seem to follow through all that often. It really all works out in the end because you're pretty much going to get back what you put in.

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  20. Fabulous post! You hit everything right on point. Another fopaux is commenting on someone else blog and talking about your latest post. Just comment on the bloggers post politely. Don't try and promote your blog too. Not cool.

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    1. Yes, good point! Especially anything with a link - it just looks like spam!!

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  21. Great post... I struggle with the etiquette thing as I have some wonderful blog-friends who are really good about tweeting out my posts but I am not always organized enough to do the same for them with my limited blogging time. Any tips on how to make that simpler?

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    1. I use hootsuite to schedule posts that I like and want to share! It is a big time saver because you can tweet all day, but only be in front of the computer for 5 minutes!

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  22. Thanks for these tips. I'm new to link ups and only do one on SITS. I didn't know the unspoken rule about linking back to the link up in the blog post. I guess I thought they were benefitting by having lots if participation and comments, they have an active site.

    Their link up is so big and my niche so small (I blog only about kids yoga) that some weeks I don't get any comments from the link up.

    Do you think it still applies in these cases?

    Thanks

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    1. Kids yoga! that is so cool! I still think it is nice to to link back to the blogger who hosted the linkup. Just a mention with a link is nice. sometimes it seems slow coming, but it is does come back around eventually!! Heading over to check out your site now!

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  23. Hi Lea

    This is a great post - many blogging rules/etiquette that applies to blogging I wish I was aware of when I first started back in 2012. There is still so much to learn. I do my best to respond to comments left on my blog, but I find that many blogs I have left comments on, I get few responses and many of the individuals never bother to reciprocate to leave a comment on my blog. Same thing with sharing their posts. But if that's their choice, then that is fine with me. But like you said, my blog is not about me.

    Thanks for being so honest and transparent in sharing this post with your audience. Stopping by from SITS. Have a blessed day/week.

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    1. Thanks for telling me where you found me! I didn't know SITS accepted my post! Woohoo! Thanks

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  24. Very good advice. This is great for a new blogger like myself!

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  25. Gea,
    I found this article to be very instructive. So much so that I shared it with my bloggers group. We had just had a threDed discussion about blogging courtesy when I stumbled across your site. Thank you for very clearly stating these rules of etiquette. I will try to follow them assiduously. Many of my group members are new to blogging and we want to start out right and stRt strong. This piece will be beneficial to us all.

    FYI: I used to run before the birth of my third child. I loved it but could not get back into it after is birth. I viewed your pictures with nostalgia and I love your avatar.

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    1. thanks so much! I am glad you found it helpful!

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  26. Well done post...I feel the same as you about being polite and considerate of other bloggers, while still being true to yourself. You can be polite and return support to other bloggers who have supported you and your efforts without being phony. You just have to look for the appropriate ways to do so in each case. Thank you for your thoughtful and honest insights!

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  27. Thank you! When I first started blogging, I didn't know the unspoken rules, but I am trying to follow them now. Thank you for sharing and posting!

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    1. Hi Elizabeth! Sure thing, I think these are all just the things that we figure out along the way!

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  28. I really love this post! Some of the unspoken rules are just common courtesy, but some of them you just have to figure out as you go. I'm sure I've made my fair share of faux pas. :) And I totally agree - people who don't reciprocate stink, but people who publicly call those people out stink worse! I know those people are probably just trying to make sure that everyone plays fair, but it almost always comes across as aggressive and mean.

    What's your opinion on replying to comments on a giveaway post? Most of those comments are an answer to a specific question and aren't necessarily intended to generate conversation. But do you do it anyway?

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    1. It is funny you ask that questions, because while I make an effort (not perfect, by any means) to at least reply to comments on my blog that warrant a reply, I almost never reply on giveaway comments! I think it is because there are generally so many (I usually make a comment a requirement to enter) and it is usually just people saying -- thanks for the giveaway! HA! Do you agree? or am I rude? LOL!

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  29. This is such a great post about blog etiquette! I started a folder for my blog comments. When I get a notification, I put it in that folder. I try to go to the folder once a day and reply to the comment and pay a visit to the commenter. Sometimes I get behind, but I always know I can go back and catch up later. This folder has saved my sanity and hopefully improved my engagement and response.

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    1. Fabulous idea! I am gong to start doing this! You're so smart! :)

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  30. A blogger I know recently complained to me (on my blog no less) about my lack of reciprocity with her. This same blogger once mentioned she doesn't comment just for the reciprocation or traffic, she does it because she wants to. The words "Contradict much?" came to mind when she caled me out for not reciprocating. Truth is, I have been dealing with several bad weeks where I was constantly exhausted and getting to my own posts was challengng enough. I think what we all need to understand is that each one us has good week and bad weeks and for whatever reason we can't always return the love. A little compassion and understanding goes a long way.

    I'm finally feeling better so my ability to comment and my motivation to share and show love is much easier. Still not perfect (never will be) but at least I'm trying. :-)

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    1. You said it perfectly! I do think that calling out someone for not reciprocating, is WORSE than not reciprocating! We have no idea what someone else might have going on in their lives....yeah, we do our best to be supportive, but sometimes there are more important things in life.... like family and friends! :)

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  31. Great advice (also LOL at "I don't run and I don't like dogs but NICE POST!" These comments SERIOUSLY grind my gears!). Anyway, I digress... I try so hard to not be THAT blogger in a group or forum and to leave link love whenever I can. And as you said--sometimes it's just impossible to get to everyone, but I think effort goes a long way. I feel that when I leave a comment that indicates the post struck a chord or when I share someone's post in social media, I find that the bloggy love is so well received. We all do what we can (and I'm grateful I'm not too guilty of blogging sins!). Thanks for this and hope you had a great weekend!

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    1. In my opinion, as long as you are making an effort, you are doing the right thing. There are just too many blogs to keep up with all of them. I just do the best with the time that I have! :) I hope you had a nice weekend too.

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  32. Thanks for this post. I was relieved to find out I am doing it right. So much to learn! Linda

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    1. Yes, sometimes we just need a confirmation that we are cruising along smoothly! :)

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  33. Visiting you via the SITS girls, nice post. You are right, a lot of people don't return the courtesies shown!

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  34. This was a great article. I started blogging in January and have just been learning so much everyday! I found you on the SITS girls and I look forward to re-reading your previous Social Media Sunday posts and staying current with your new. Thanks so much!

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  35. Great post. I do agree with all of this. Especially if you have nothing to say...don't. Often times we feel pressured to respond to every single comment, every single time...it's always nice to respond but you don't have to respond to every single one.

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  36. A great article, I agree. Lets play fear and with respeact.
    I do like your social media sunday :)
    re Stína Sæm

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  37. great tips and very helpful post, lea! thanks for sharing:)

    Just a Q. could you share some of the facebook groups links you've referred to.
    Thank you.
    Keep up the good work!
    All the best,
    betty

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