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Social Networking Etiquette: Mind Your Manners to Grow Your Business

Social media marketing is hotter than a firecracker, and growing hotter every day as online entrepreneurs realize just how effective this particular marketing technique can be.

If you aren’t using social media marketing---you should be.

However, a word of caution: Use social media wisely or you can end up doing more harm to your business than good. There are certain, basic, unwritten rules of etiquette that apply to social media. Before diving into the deep end of the social media scene, familiarize yourself with these rules of etiquette so that you don’t jump in there and start putting your foot in it.

There is a lot more to social media marketing than joining Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin and trying to get friends or followers. First of all, don’t rush in and start requesting friends like somebody that’s been stranded on a desert island alone for the past 10 years and is desperate now for companionship of any sort.

Take your time. Go slowly. You’re impatient, that’s understandable. You have probably looked around and seen some of your competitors with 3000 friends and/or followers and you want to catch up. But, quality is actually much more important than quantity, anyway.

Think of your social community friends sort of like traffic to your online store. You want traffic, of course. But you want the right kind of traffic, not just a torrent of visitors who are not ever going to become buyers. This applies to your social media friends, too. Be a bit selective about who your friends and followers are and aim for quality.

A big No-No is to go through your online address book and send friend requests to everybody on it. You will not win friends this way. In fact, you will antagonize many of those people to the point where it will damage any existing relationship you have with them.

The correct way to go about letting folks know you now have a page on Facebook or whatever is to announce it on your website, or in an email newsletter, or in your email signature. This way, your contacts who want to participate will, and the others who don’t want to---won’t. You don’t want them, anyway.

Although you don’t want to bombard anyone you’ve ever emailed with friend requests, you do want to connect with net workers who approach you. If it seems like a real, live person and not a spammer, then friend them. Not to do so would be offensive and against the social media etiquette rules.

Be professional at all times. Don’t tweet messages from Twitter that would offend some of your followers, for example. Remember that you never know who will read a message you post online or send out in a tweet!

Don’t be too sales-y with your new friends, especially at first. People don’t like to feel used and it’s bad social manners to give someone the impression that you only want them as a friend to try and sell them something. You do want to build your business, naturally. But be tactful about it!

Mind your manners in social media marketing and watch your business grow!

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Comment by Beth Ross on November 9, 2009 at 8:25am
Great information. New ways of doing business always changes the way a person does business, but the same basic principles come into play no matter what the platform used is. Thanks for sharing with us.
Comment by Jan Baron, RDCPro, CSP, BPOR on November 6, 2009 at 11:05pm
Oh, you mean we're not suppose to post pictures of ourselves drinking shots of tequila?
Comment by Billie Dalessio on November 6, 2009 at 8:32pm
Chris, thanks for taking the time to share.

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