Social Media Etiquette; What Are the Rules?

woman in a black shirt drinking coffee while working

I had a weird thing happen last week. I was scrolling through IG and saw me, my picture. It was the same image I had posted a few days before, so my first thought was that it was that tricky ad thing that IG does to try to get you to pay to promote your post. But I quickly realized, it was actually another account that had used my image. More specifically, it was the account for the restaurant where the image was taken. I was a little taken back – they used my picture? Without asking me first? Worse, they did not tag my business account nor mention me in the post!

I was incredulous – how could they just take my image and use it without permission and without any acknowledgment?!

Fair’s Fair

To be fair, I did note that I had not tagged the restaurant in my original post. The content had nothing to do with the restaurant and honestly, I thought I was annoying by tagging them in that post – I’ve since gone back and added the tag. I have also previously tagged and thanked the restaurant for allowing me to take professional pictures, so there is that. But it got me thinking, what is social media etiquette?

Ask…Some of the Time

On the whole, I don’t think you have to ask permission to repost someone’s image from IG…BUT (and there’s a big but) that only applies to posts where the other account has tagged your account. If someone has tagged you in their post, it’s a-ok to repost without asking first. But if you’re not tagged in the image, you 100% need to get written permission (i.e. message) before reposting.


I feel like this should go without saying, but I’ve obviously broken this rule too. You have to acknowledge the person whose picture you’re using. Always with a tag, but preferably with a thank you at the bottom of your post as well. Not only is it courteous, but it’s good business too. IG loves engagement so why not spread the love and get the algorithm boost?

What Are Your Rules?

Do you agree or disagree with the above? Are there other rules we should all be applying as well? On the flip side, if all of this is completely over your head, don’t worry, I can help! If you’re thinking now is the time to get your business social media up and running – consistently, consciously, and with a purpose once and for all – then let’s talk. I love talking with business owners and helping to craft a great marketing strategy for them!

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