Facebook Email Etiquette
Are you growing weary from the inappropriate use of email on Facebook? I’m referring to the friends who email you their latest blog post, affiliate link, or MLM program and/or insist on sending bulk emails – that is, emails addressed to multiple recipients. (Facebook allows you to email lists of up to twenty friends).
Though you’ve mutually agreed to be Facebook friends, these types of emails typically come from people with whom you haven’t yet established initial rapport.
And therein lies the problem. With social media, we must think relationships first, business second. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger (or group of 20 strangers) at a party or networking event and just butt in all about you, you, you… would you?
Even if you’d done your “homework” before attending the event and you knew everyone’s names, what they do, their likes/dislikes, etc. (e.g. you’d read each of their profiles) – you wouldn’t just thrust a big placard in front of their face with your ad. There’s no context, no bridge. They don’t know you from Adam.
Surely you’d take a moment to introduce yourself, engage in small talk, ask a few questions, show your interest in that person(s), share a little about yourself?
With these types of emails, I usually take one or more of these action steps:
- Hit delete. (The path of least resistance… but doesn’t prevent future similar emails from the same person).
- Hit reply–which is actually Reply All–informing the sender the email is essentially spam and requesting not to be included in future emails such as this.
- Reply to the sender (click the Reply link under their name).
- Unfriend the sender.
Just the other day I sent this note as a Reply All in response to a bulk email from a guy I’ll call Fred:
To my knowledge, I’d had no prior interactions with Fred. The information didn’t seem relevant to me. And, though I know Reply All may not necessarily be the best choice, sometimes I’ll go for it anyway in an attempt to let the other recipients know about Facebook Email Etiquette.
Perhaps I ought to have been more discerning with my Reply All with this particular Facebook friend. I actually happened to see Fred’s Status just prior to responding and it said something like “Fred is seething and hopping mad about his blog software system.” Not exactly warm friendly words, eh? 😉
Here’s what Fred wrote back to me in response:
YIKES!!! Was I really pompous? Supercilious? Did I bawl this well-meaning but errant child out in front of the entire class? It sure seems I triggered something in Fred. He’s an intelligent professional like so many Facebook users – unfortunately, he simply doesn’t know there’s a certain protocol when using social networks. At least there is for me, and I like to hang out with those who have similar standards. Such is the beauty of being at choice.
Also, on reflection, there was no bridge or context from my end – likely Fred wasn’t aware I teach professionals how to use Facebook for strategic business purposes.
Going forward how can we handle the email etiquette issues? Here’s a few rules I’ve come up with. I’ll test them on myself. LOL
Rule #1: Do not respond right away if/when emotional. Allow yourself time to reflect more rationally. There’s always the delete button. (Uh, hello, Mari?! lol)
Rule #2: Reply in private to the sender. (Though, there may be times when Reply All is appropriate).
Rule #3: If others have already started replying to the thread – then chip in and mention you prefer not to be on the thread.
Rule #4: If in doubt, and the email content and thread is spammy for sure, just go ahead and give the sender the FaceBOOT as I talked about here.
What do you think? What would you have done? Do you think “Reply All” is fair game? Do you think a “Blind Copy/BCC” field would be useful for Facebook email?
P.S. You might enjoy this hilarious “Spam I Am” video by my buddy, Lou Bortone, all about Facebook spam.