The Etiquette of Social Networking

by mjtaylor on July 30, 2012

Rules of Engagement on Social Media: Tips and Pet Peeves

If you’re only posting on a blog or forum for links,  Tweeting to drive traffic, or using Facebook to find buyers for your real estate listings, you’re networking for the wrong reasons. To successfully use social media – whether you are Stumbling, Tumbling, Sharing or Pinning you won’t be Winning if you don’t get this very basic point:

It’s not all about you. Really, it’s NOT!

text bubbles 10 of you one of meAs a rule of thumb I like Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero’s rule of 1 to 10 ratio for self-serving shares on Twitter that I learned from Lorrie Morgan Ferrero. On my Facebook profile, I like to keep most of my shares on the personal side,  but if I like a new blog post of a client’s I will share that. But my Facebook shares are generally more about what others might be interested in than personal notes about what I just ate or my mood.

Some people feel you should very strictly separate accounts for business and personal use, and there are often good reasons for doing that. Personally, I prefer to take a more organic approach, and since I only do business with clients whose products or services I really like, I feel I can be true to myself and my business on the same page.

What Do THEY Want? To gain respect and credibility, and to truly influence your audience, you have to focus on their needs and desires they want, and not  what you need to promote. You have to listen – which can challenging online. I track my shares and Tweeted links via bitly so I can get an idea of what folks are clicking on. If I’ve squawked a little too often on a topic, it will be reflected in a lower clickthrough rate, and spikes of clickthroughs tell me I struck gold.

Tee Shirt reads t's All about me" with red circle/ slash aound it

More Twitter Etiquette Basics That Apply to All Social Media

These are personal pet peeves of mine and I know that some people think differently, but I really don’t want to get a DM message from someone I just followed that asks me to like their Facebook page or click on some other self-serving link. I probably followed you because I thought you might Tweet something of interest to me or my followers, but now you’ve made me a little sorry.

Say thanks!

It’s important to say thank you for a mention or Retweet, or any broadcast that benefits you. I know if you’re content is popular and you have thousands of followers, it may be hard to keep up – but if someone is promoting a lot of your Tweets on a regular basis, it’s only polite to at least follow them back and occasionally return the favor.

Of course there are exceptions – celebrities and folks who are true authorities in their fields are not going to follow back or have the time for small courtesies, but those of us who are smaller potatoes want to do our best to keep up with common courtesies.

Be Real

Don’t buy followers or likes. It’s mostly a waste of money. I wanted to kick start a client’s Twitter account a few years ago so I bought 1,000 followers – a year later they were almost all gone and good riddance to them; they were just so much noise. The account has accrued a solid following and has produced good leads and targeted traffic. Perhaps some followers hooked up because the account already had a following, but I doubt it. I don’t follow people based on their numb ers; I follow for relevance and that’s why you want folks to follow you.

Being real also translates to only rebroadcasting a Tweet or a Facebook share because it genuinely interests you or you feel your followers will find it of value.

Read Before You Retweet

It’s tempting to hit the RT button without clicking through when you trust the person Tweeting and the topic meets with your interests – but it only took one time of me sharing what turned out to be a broken link to break me of that poor practice. Imagine how much more embarrassing it could be than a 404.

Please Leave i-T At Home

Networking for social or business reasons is personal and should be kept that way. If you’re eating in a restaurant alone, fine, take out your iPhone and connect, connect, connect … but if you’re in company, please politely put your i-whatever away and pay attention to the people you’re with. Social networking isn’t social when you’re ignoring your date.

Twenty More Tips for Being Charming

You really can’t go wrong if you really listen to Jeff Goins “20 Essential Tips for Better Twitter Etiquette.” My favorite from that post:

“Be social. Twitter is about conversation, not monologue.”

Be Of Service

How may I help you? is one of the most charming things a person can say – especially when it’s delivered with a genuine smile and warm tone of voice. On line we can’t do that so easily, but we can look for ways to be helpful to others. I happen to love helping people on webmaster forums. It’s so easy when people tell you what they want. But on Twitter and other platforms you may have to try and figure out what people might want. Resource lists are very much appreciated, for example, or how to videos.

What Do YOU Think?

What are your online rules of engagement etiquette? What are your pet peeves on social networking and media sites?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jessie August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

One of the biggest things that really bothers me on Twitter or any social network really is to see people posting about what they eat. I mean really who cares about that? Great article I hope some of them read it :)

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