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Social Networking Etiquette – The Dos and Don’ts

posted January 28th, 2011 & filed under marketing/advertising, Serious Stuff, social networking, tips

Social networking has become the go to platform in the new era of Web 2.0 interaction.  Without utilizing these new tools you would be missing out on a huge number of opportunities and potential avenues for real-life networking.  At the same time you can’t just jump on Facebook or Twitter with your soon to be launched brand and think everyone is going to immediately jump on board; there’s almost a certain protocol or etiquette to interacting on Social Media and a few key points will quickly establish any up and coming brand with a fervent online following.

1.  Social Networking is about engaging in the conversation, not just about promotion

One of the most important rules to follow when promoting yourself or your new brand on Social Media is to not become a one-sided venue.  There is almost nothing people complain about more on Facebook and Twitter then the people that repeatedly jam your inbox or wall with their incessant daily promotions while never interacting or commenting on what other’s are doing.  It’s the same rule for real life interaction; no one likes the guy that comes to the party and tells you all the specs on his new Prius without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise.  Social networking and business relationships are based on an even and consistent back and forth where both parties are equally engaged in the other’s brand or platform, and this is definitely something that applies to Social Media.  These conversations are what builds small companies and creates a rapport between an owner and the customer beyond simply selling a product.

2.  T.M.I. and Social Media

One of the most important aspects of Social Media is determining what type of content is appropriate for your brand.  Facebook and Twitter have become the go-to examples for people replaying every bit of minutia in their incredibly banal day, but when you’re using these same platforms to promote a business, it’s really important to understand where to draw the line.  Not that you shouldn’t be real and authentic in how you portray yourself in Social Media, but that also doesn’t mean its beneficial to let everyone know everything.  The same rules exist in real-life interactions and can be easily applied to the virtual landscape, except the only difference is everyone can see your Facebook wall.  If you have an awkward moment or scenario at a cocktail party, it usually only lasts as long as the evening, but on Facebook and Twitter, these faux pas and cultural snafus are permanently ingrained in the perpetual stream of data associated with your brand.  The most important thing to remember is that your digital life stays with you forever, and there’s nothing like having a potential client Googling you only to find out exactly how intoxicated you were when you were supposed to be taking care of business; that’s why it’s so important to maintain a sense of exactly what’s socially appropriate for your brand.

3.  Outlining a strategy and following through with it.

When it comes to Social Media there are so many options and so many platforms that its easy for your brand to get lost amongst the Web 2.0 cloud of endless data, which is why its so important to come up with a solid game plan or strategy when it comes to promoting your brand.  An important aspect in determining your strategy is creating a social networking schedule and following through with it.  Just like any other aspect of a growing business its important to allot a certain amount of time each week to promoting your brand, and once your fans and friends online understand you’re releasing new content on a specific schedule, then it becomes much easier for them to engage it without guessing as to when you’ll pop back up.  In August Kanye West launched the G.O.O.D. Music Fridays promotion, where he gave away a new unreleased track on Twitter around the same time every week; this became something his fans could count on, and other people were anticipating, which served to increase his overall followers and gave his current ones a reason to stick around.  Social Media has the potential to become completely chaotic, which is even more of a reason to create a specific model and structure for your own social networking and promotion.

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