10 Tips for Proper Holiday Social Media Etiquette

By Debra Eckerling 

Holiday Twitter BirdIt’s the end of the year, and party season is in full swing. Holiday party rules are a little different – guests are more likely to let their guard down, have a glass of something, and start posting without planning.

Whether it’s a work party, a family event, or a purely social gathering, there is always the chance there’s a social media embarrassment waiting to happen. Don’t worry. There are things you can do to avoid awkward social media backlash.

Here are 10 Tips for Holiday Party Social Media Etiquette.

1. Check your company’s social media policies. “If company policy is not to post about your organization in social media, you shouldn’t post at parties either,” says Matthew Hurst, Communications Analyst at Nielsen.

“If you’re responsible for social media at your company, make sure you’re posting to your personal accounts, unless you have specific ideas of what you want to share from the party officially. [Official updates should be] planned in advance. After all, you don’t want to publish updates unless they fit the goals you’ve set in social media.”

Hurst adds, “If you do want to publish something officially, make sure the person responsible is sober. Even the most innocuous tweets with a misspelled word (or worse yet, autocomplete) can reflect negatively on your brand.”

2. Companies, be aware of what you post. “For corporate (brand) social accounts, if you’re posting photos, post high-quality photos,” says Janae DeRusso, Branding & Content Strategist for Overit. “Don’t post photos from your holiday party that don’t reflect the quality of your work or the image you want to come across. … Limit social media posts to a few photos and/or posts – too much talk about your party will cause you to appear distracted from what you should be focused on: communicating the value of your brand and engaging with your audience.”

3. Be a friendly photog. “Take group photos and fun shots of the event and share them to your company Instagram,” says Stacey Miller, Social Media Manager at Vocus. “Don’t take photos making lewd gestures or anything that could be misconstrued.”

Plus, adds Serena Ehrlich, Director, Social & Evolving Media, at Business Wire, “NEVER post photos with alcohol in them.”

4. Be a good guest. “Activate [your phone’s] silent mode,” says Alayna Frankenberry, Social Media Manager for Find.com. “No one wants to hear alerts going off all night. Put your phone on silent and make a rule for yourself that you’ll only check for alerts every time you visit the bathroom or get a drink.”

“Don’t post or text while talking with someone,” adds Jill Haseltine, Deliberate Nation, LLC. “It sends the message that ‘they are not as important as this post or message.’”

5. Careful what you tweet. “Unless there’s a prepared ‘great year, everyone’ speech, DO NOT share quotes from the evening,* suggests Alyssa Mattero, Senior Manager, Digital & Content Marketing, Perfect Search Media.

6. Don’t friend frivolously. “Don’t add your co-workers’ friends, dates, or spouses on Facebook,” says Danielle Ford, Social Media Coordinator at Agency 33. “ Holiday season is a time when normal work-boundary lines blur, with festivities, pot-lucks, and office parties. Avoid potential awkwardness with your co-worker by leaving it to their friends to add you. If your co-worker is comfortable with those lines being blurred – and you hit it off as well as you think you did – they will [friend you].”

7. Watch your posts. “Keep an eye on the comments that appear on any photos you post,” says AJ Feuerman, Manager, Digital PR, AEG Live. “You never know what some former college friend of yours might say on a photo of you with the boss. Be at the ready to delete!”

8. Protect your reputation. “Inappropriate content can have negative consequences,” shares Gaye Weintraub, Owner, Tall Texas Female Productions. “Many companies and prospective employers check social media accounts.  … Employees attending a work party [should not] post questionable content, videos, and photos.”

Adds Matthew Hurst, “Obviously you don’t want to share photos of co-workers in compromising situations. My rule of thumb: don’t post any photos of your co-workers you wouldn’t want your boss to see on social media if it were you instead.”

9. Share the love. “Feel free to mention any great service online,” suggests Kristin Zaslavsky, Co-Founder, Eli Rose Social Media. “If your holiday party includes the world’s best bacon wrapped shrimp, share the love and tell the restaurant how much you loved it in an online review, Facebook post, or tweet.”

10. Express your thanks. Especially if it’s a public event, tweet your thanks to the hosts and sponsor, and share all appropriate pics on your social networks. Note: An actual thank you note – whether it’s on paper or via email – is always a nice touch.

Everyone enjoys a good celebration. Make sure yours fun, festive, and social-media friendly!

What are your holiday party dos and don’ts?