The Rules of Engagement of Social Media

social media engagementSocial media networking has been around for a while, but some people are still having trouble navigating their way through the sea of stuff that is out there. The most important thing to remember is that social media is about building relationships; it’s not about blatant self-promotion.

Here are some basic rules that will keep you playing nice:

Be selective. Choose carefully which networks you join and who you invite as a friend. If you don’t know someone personally, send a personal friend request, indicating why you would like to connect.  Stick to people who appear to share common interests and common friends with you.

Be a good listener. If you are at a real cocktail party, there are visual clues to help you know when to listen and when to speak. You don’t have that luxury online, so developing thoughtful listening skills is be a great asset.

Be involved. And add value to online conversations. Give more than you get by offering helpful comments and useful links; be free with compliments and share a bit of information about yourself.

Be responsive. It’s important to respond to feedback or questions in a timely manner. Don’t stop the flow of conversation.

Be generous. Social media works best when you are generous with your knowledge and expertise. Self-promotion should not be your first goal.

Don’t be overly promotional. It bears repeating here: Social media is about building relationships. It’s okay to promote your products and services on occasion, but that should not be your primary focus. Announcing your book is fine; sending spammy messages on a daily basis about your book is not.

Be yourself. Being genuine is critical to any successful social media marketing campaign. Find your audience, listen to them, provide value to the conversation, don’t spam, and be yourself to get the most positive results. Don’t try to be something or someone you’re not.

Be consistent. This holds true not only among your social media profiles, but the persona you are online should match who you are in real life. Don’t send mixed messages!

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