10 questions to ask before posting and commenting on social media

10 questions to ask before posting and commenting on social media

By Keith Quesenberry, professor of marketing and author of “Social Media Strategy”

Social media signs

Seventy-three percent of the world’s Internet users are active on social media. With 83% of Fortune 500 companies with social media accounts and 92% of recruiters using social media to find candidates, it is too important not to carefully consider your actions.

Social media brings together our personal, professional and working lives in a way no other medium has before. How do we navigate this social landscape where our worlds collide and brands communicate like people in one-on-one conversations with consumers?


Before you post or comment in a personal capacity, ask yourself:

  1. Is it all about me? No one likes someone who only talks about themselves. The same applies on social media. Balance boasting with complimenting.
  2. Am I stalking someone? It is good to be driven and persistent but be careful not to cross the line into creepy. Don’t be too aggressive in outreach.
  3. Am I spamming them? Not everything or even the majority of what you post should ask for something. Don’t make everything self-serving.
  4. Am I venting or ranting? Venting and ranting may feel good, but research says it doesn’t help and no matter how justified you feel, it never presents you in a positive light. Do not post negative comments or gossip.
  5. Did I ask before I tagged? You had a great time and want to share those memories, but your friends, family or employer may have different standards. Check before you tag people in posts.
  6. Did I read before commenting or sharing? Don’t make yourself look foolish by not fully reviewing something you are commenting on or sharing with others. Don’t jump to conclusions.
  7. Am I grateful and respectful? Don’t take people for granted. Respond and thank those who engage with you.
  8. Is this the right medium for the message? Not everything should be said on social media. Consider the feelings of the other person. Some messages should be given in person, by phone or by email.
  9. Am I logged into the right account? There are too many corporate examples of embarrassing posts meant for personal jokes that went out on official brand accounts. Always double check which account you are on. Don’t post personal information on brand accounts.
  10. Have I listened twice as much as I am talking? Do you fully understand the person, organization or situation you are commenting about? We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Taking the time to pause and listen has saved many people and brands from putting their foot in their mouth.

Of course this guide just touches the surface of social media etiquette, ethics and professionalism. The take-away lesson? Always take the time to ask questions and think before you post.