Professional Do’s And Don’ts in Online Written Communication

DM’s (direct messaging on social media apps), posting online, emails, and in texting have certain etiquette to display us as professional business people or not so professional and certain phrases, emojis, and sentence syntax make a huge difference in them being professional or not and seeming passive aggressive or unprofessional or dismissive. 

Here in today’s blog article we’ll go over some do’s and don’t of DM-ing and of texting for being professional and displaying care and compassion for your prospective clients, current clients, and online communities. 

The don’ts list are items that display a person as any of the following yet not limited to: uncaring, dismissive of the others feelings and/or thoughts, passive aggressive, insecure, petty, not confident, low EQ, a person who is not keeping up with their workload and perhaps makes less money than they could be, lazy (i.e. thinking they are too busy to care), chaotic or hectic, and in a hurry/rushing i.e. poor time management skills. 

While the don’ts list might come across as judgmental, it is to enhance the professionalism of those in business, and increase the level of self-awareness of one’s written communication. 

Everyday as a business owner who has a large online community, in many places, with over 900,000 people in all of our online communities to this date, I sadly see the don’ts list and the do’s list in communication I receive. 

Important to remember: 

– Often in business people are basing their views of you directly from your written communication. –

Other areas weigh-in with how people access their views of you and your company, yet the most heavily weighted area is in communication

Especially with everything being online these days, most communication happens via email, DM’s, voice memos, and texting.

The do’s list items display a person as any of the following yet not limited to: confident, excellent delegator and excellent time management skills, high EQ, caring, receptive to the other persons’ desires/needs/wants/ideas/feelings, secure, well-rounded, has time to make sure those in their network, their clients, their prospective clients feel heard, seen, and understood, a person who makes a lot of money/ wealthy.

Keep reading to the end as I will also have a list of do not use words in online written communication, with most all of them coming across to not have the intention we want and seem unprofessional. 

Especially for female business owners: to reflect on and own their power in their written communication. In their written communication reflecting the intentions of their businesses and how their businesses are reflecting back to the world their and their businesses core values through communication.


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Don’ts Followed By Do’s List In Online Written Professional Communication:

  •  Don’t: Do not answer anything online, ever, with a thumbs up (👍) emoji especially, or any emoji, such as a heart one (🥰). I understand it might be that you are thinking you are indicating you saw the message to the person who sent it. However, it appears extremely dismissive, passive aggressive, and displays poor time management to the receiver. It appears one doesn’t have time to write out a proper sentence. 

Do: At least write out one word answer, such as “Thanks.” or preferably a full sentence to every communication, such as, “Thank you so much for this. Appreciate it!” Do leave out emoji’s in all in professional communication. I understand sometimes others in business send emoji’s within communication, yet do your best to completely leave them out of all communication, it will come across as more professional. If you need to hire someone on your team to answer messages and online communication, this is a great idea to also share this blog with them and have them answer your online platforms instead of sending one emoji or a series of emojis.


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  • Don’t: Do not put words in all caps (example of all caps: CAPS), usually ever, on a website, on DM’s, on posts, on emails, on a sales page, in an online store, on texts, or on any online written communication. 

Some more examples of this is when a person is answering a text/email/DM/commenting on a post/ and starts this with “OK…”. 

This appears to be a person being offended if they feel the need to answer in the first place, and it indicates you are shouting at the receiver of the online communication. In a normal conversation when answering, is it usual to shout to someone, “OK…”, probably not

I have been told that android devices automatically capitalize the word ‘ok’. I’d suggest leaving this word out of most communication online and offline.

Do: Substitute the word, ‘Ok,’ in an answer, with words such as, ‘alright’, ‘Yes…’, or ‘No…’. I highly suggest taking the word ‘ok’ out of texting, and online communication, it is on the do not use words list below too. If you are in the habit of using the word ‘ok’, at the very least spell it out fully, and follow it with an actual sentence, such as, “Okay, thank you for this.” or “Okay, I appreciate you saying this.” 

Also, just saying, “Ok/Okay,” also comes across as a ‘meh’ or a ‘I don’t really know’, or a ‘I don’t really care about that,’ response to the receiver, and uncaring, always aim to follow it with a statement that reflects the intention behind the ‘okay’. Do not leave the person to wonder ‘what do they mean by saying, okay, what does okay mean here?’. Any which way ‘okay’ is used can often leave the reader with a perplexing and confused outcome. If the reader / receiver of a message is left with a confused or perplexing outcome from reading the communication they might be left to read into/assume what it is you actually mean.


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  • Don’t: Do not overuse exclamation points (!), especially after every sentence, or the first word in answering. It is okay to add in one within a few sentences, for example, “Hi Sally! How is it going? I saw that you have a magnificent business in aiding people with their social media management. This seems so great. Can you tell me more about this?” Also, when answering someone do not use an exclamation point in the first word, such as, “Okay!” or “Yes!” or “Nope!”. All of these appear super aggressive, in a hurry, and/or overzealous to what the healthy response can be. 

Do: Usually a full sentence is the way to go, such as, “No, that’s not exactly what I meant, please find more on this on the FAQ’s page here (insert link) to my website, there you’ll find all the common questions, let me (or my team) know if you have more questions. Thanks. -(insert your name).”

  • Don’t: Answer someone’s message with links to your services or start telling them about how you can support them. Unless they first send you links to their services, which in that case this is your choice if you want to return the message with more links. For example: If a business sends you a welcome message to their Facebook group, do not reply with your latest challenge or links to your support. This comes across as forceful and appears you are saying your support is the most important in the communication, or your business, instead of making the connection the most important and seeking first to understand the person and their business who sent you the message and showing genuine interest. 

Do: Aim to first make a connection with someone online by understanding them, what they do, and who they support. If we send them a long message and with links before knowing them at all, this is a big don’t. Do take time to engage with their content, and understand them a bit more before talking about how you both can support each other with one another’s businesses.


Have you joined Quora yet? To speak your mind, ask questions, and display yourself as an expert there.


  • Don’t:  Mis-spell words on purpose, or make up words in online communication, if at all possible. Sometimes it might come out, yet do not purposely mis-spell or make up words in communication. This can be fun and seem quirky to the creator of the content, yet it comes across as unprofessional and waters down the brand’s impact. Writing with made up words or purposely mis-spelled words can possibly lose the reader in trying to translate what is exactly meant by the mis-spelled or new word used.

Do: Use a service such as Grammarly to always check your spelling. No one is perfect, all you can do is your best about spelling and grammar. If you have people on your team who write for you in any capacity also make sure they are using spell check and something similar too or Grammarly.

  • Don’t: Do not answer a message without first greeting the person. A common greeting can be, “Hi [name]…(and insert message here).” This will for sure set you apart from most business owners and people, especially in business communication such as email, text, dm, and any written communication. 

Do: Use grammar and greet the person, even if it is only a, “Hi,” if you don’t know their name yet.

  • Don’t: Use words that display uncertainty if you are certain. For example, if a client asks you, “Hi [NAME], when will we be able to have our next session together?” And you answer, “Oh, ya, I think I sent you the calendar link before, did I?” ← this appears extremely uncertain. 

Do: Use more certain phrases if you are certain and confident. 

A better answer can be (to the above question), “Hi [clients name], you have (x) # of sessions every month, and you have already had a session with me this month, were you wanting to add another session for (x) $’s? This is the calendar link (insert link), and I can send you a paypal request for the extra session fee (or stripe, or another payment gateway).” or another great answer is, “Hi [NAME], this is the calendar link (insert link), looking forward to speaking with you. Which topics specifically do you want to focus on for this upcoming session?”

Do Not Use These Words In Online Written Professional Communication:

These are words to take out of texting, and mostly even out of your vocabulary to be more professional, more confident, and more secure in your communication. Especially the worst is to start sentences with these, or to answer only these words. These words are often coming across to the receiver as uncaring, uncertain, not confident, dismissive, and unprofessional. 

  • Yeppers
  • Yep
  • Nope
  • Maybe
  • Idc, Idk, Rly
  • Um
  • Sure
  • Fine
  • Ok, K, Okay, OK (any version of okay)
  • Hum
  • Right (especially starting a sentence with this, or just answering this one word)
  • Ya, Yea, Yeah (any version of yeah)


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Hoping this article finds you well, and as always we love to hear from you in the comments!


You can also find more information about Allison Ramsey, Facebook Digital Marketing Professor & Empire Life Founder at Instagram, LinkedIn, Website, and Twitter

To learn more about getting started with Empire Life in launching and scaling your online empire you can contact Allison, Founder of Empire Life, on Instagram and LinkedIn.


– Often in business people are basing their views of you directly from your written communication. –

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