The social media space is still relatively new, and constantly evolving. As a result, there is some confusion about what constitutes best practices in terms of sharing, participating, and networking within social media.
The first rule, always, is to be a good netizen- which means you refrain from the obvious “don’ts” like spamming, lying, or rumor-mongering.
With the focus on being social, think of social media like attending a party- there are certain behaviors you should never do at a party, nor in social media:
1) Don’t be overdressed. If you want to participate successfully in social media, be sure that your approach fits the environment. Some sites are more relaxed and informal; so you don’t want to be too uptight or stuffy here. In contrast, other sites are more formal, and you want to match the tone. Just like you want to be properly dressed for a party, come “properly dressed” to social media.
2) Don’t assume that anything is private. Social media, like being at a party, allows rapid spread of gossip, rumors, and lies. If you share it, be OK with it being shared. If you’re not sure, say nothing.
3) Don’t talk about yourself all the time. Consider that interaction should always be a conversation- not a monologue. Just like nobody wants to spend time with a bore or a braggart in real life, the same goes for social media. Be interested.
4) Don’t steal recipes. Find your own way of being within the social media space; don’t try to borrow or completely copy other people’s styles without modification. It probably won’t work for you.
5) Don’t be (too) shy. You’ll always have a better time if you step up and socialize. This means meeting people, sharing your opinions, and creating dialogue. The best parties are where people have fun and make connections, the same goes for social media. Be interesting.
Great article and very good tips! I especially find 5) very helpful (and your other article on this topic).
As a salesman, I find that #3 is the worse! When you are trying to sell someone something, they want to do the talking, and they want someone to listen. I find that just allowing people to vent (about one thing or another, not even product-related) allows a bond or a relationship (even so slight) to develop, and people are more willing (and likely) to buy your product or service (especially if there problem is one you can sympathize with them over). Mind you, I’m not talking a false-front; I’m talking sincerity. Be sincerely interested in other people, and you’ll be surprised where that gets you! Take it from me… This is one to grow on!
@Alex: Thanks very much.
@gregorygilbert: I agree. Being sincerely interested is a very helpful method for building connections. Your post reminded me of an experience I once had with a salesman who spent so much time telling me what a good salesman he was that he ran out of time to actually sell me anything.
Thanks for your comments!