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  Social Networking Resources > Getting Started Guide > Lesson #5 Social Networking Etiquette

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Social Networking Etiquette

Like any social Endeavour there are rules of engagement, a protocol to follow to keep both the webmasters and your followers happy.  Here are a few social networking etiquette guidelines.

Engage Your Followers

Social networking is about building a community, it’s not about venting or sharing personal information.  (If you want to connect with folks that way, then create two profiles, one for personal connections and one for professional connections.)   Engage your followers in conversation, provide valuable information and be an authentic, transparent, and credible source of information and inspiration.  That’s the way to build a following and a business!

Commit To Growing Your Network 

Link, find friends, and start building your following. It’s not enough to have a presence on a social networking site. You must connect and on most sites that means inviting friends to connect with you and following others. However connecting indiscriminately doesn’t build a business.

Experts also recommend finding influential members in your industry and connecting with them.  For example, if you’re the owner of a crafting store then it pays to connect with Martha Stewart because she’ll have a large following of crafters which you can engage with and build your community. 

Follow Those Who Follow You

Generally, it’s polite to follow people who follow you or to befriend people who invite you to be their friend or connection – the terminology varies depending on the social networking site.  Now Facebook used to limit friends to 5000 which meant you had to be somewhat choosy about who you befriended however they’ve recently lifted that limitation so there’s no reason not to befriend someone.

There are and will be some exceptions and caveats to that rule in that some people are spammers and some are not appropriate people to associate with.  Use your best judgment.

Update Frequently

Like any other marketing tool, in order for it to be effective, it’s important to update and participate regularly.  Part of building a community is being involved in it.  If you’re gone for any length of time, people easily forget about you – sad but true.  A general rule of thumb is to post daily. That doesn’t mean you have to spend hours and hours of your valuable time however a daily contribution is a nice way to stay in touch.

Be Professional

Remember you’re speaking to potential customers, vendors, business partners and associates and speak to them appropriately.  Be positive, avoid too much jargon and watch the profanity – that might be okay for personal communications but it can send the wrong message to professional networks.

Remember The 80/20 Rule

Marketing yourself 24/7 is tiresome and a turnoff.  Social networking is about providing value, not a sales pitch.  Keep the old 80/20 rule in mind when networking - 80% information and communication, 20% marketing.

Keeping these rules in mind will help you build a strong following and in turn build your business, your knowledge and your resources.  As we wrap this up, let’s take a look at how to integrate social networking into your marketing strategy.

 === > Lesson #6  Creating Your Social Networking Marketing Plan

 

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