All those questions you were dying to ask but didn’t dare to for fear of looking stupid … until now! …

Entering tSocial Media Etiquettehe weird and wonderful world of ‘Social Media Marketing’ can be fraught with faux pas for the new and ‘uneducated’ entrepreneur. To ‘like’ or not to ‘like’?… What is accepted social practice for new ‘friends’?… And of course the biggest question of all … ‘How soon can I give you my business pitch?’

The early ‘Wild West’ pioneering days of social media are now well and truly over and each of the social networks has settled down into general practices that are considered ‘the norm’ for anyone who is part of the scene. It is also fair to say that the average ‘newcomer’ probably now has a fair idea of what to expect. However, opening the door and taking that first step into the ‘party’ can still be a nerve-racking experience… social media - tetering on the brink

 

…. So, this post is for everyone who has been teetering on the brink or standing on the fringes, not quite sure what to do next…. Welcome!

 

The first point to remember about social networking, Facebook in general and Twitter in particular, is that it is like a giant cocktail party. You are not supposed to hear everybody or engage intimately with everybody. In fact, apart from probably dropping dead from the sheer effort of trying to pay that much attention, trying to engage intimately with everybody would be considered plain ‘Wierd’. In fact you’re more likely to be considered a ‘stalker’ than a ‘follower’.

The ‘cocktail party’ analogy is a great one for twitter, people are mingling, socialising, not really connecting on a deep level, but the radar are open and if you eavesdrop a snippet of great conversation, you can zone in and become a bigger part of that. And very occasionally, something huge will happen that seems to stop the whole room and draws everyone’s attention for a few seconds (like the food being announced) and then people go off into their little groups and the noise starts up again. So don’t worry about appearing rude if you don’t manage to connect with everybody in the room all at once.

To Follow Or Not To Follow?

Personally, I always autofollow, after all that's kind of the point of social media isnSocial Media Etiquette4't it – to network and create acquaintances and alliances. If I go and follow someone I am saying to them 2 things: 'Hey, great to connect, your content looks as though it may be interesting,' And I'm also saying, 'Hey, I think we may have common interests, let's stay in touch'. And the unspoken social etiquette on twitter is ‘If I follow you, you follow me’. Following someone is like acknowledging them and so if someone follows you, acknowledge them back and return the favour. If you do not follow back your followers, in many cases they will unfollow you, which defeats the object of building a network.

That said, there are 2 issues with Twitter:
1) – Noise
2) – Auto-Followers / Self-Promoters

(to learn more about coping with these potential minefields and how I deal with them, see my post on: Twitter: How Do You Cope With All The Noise?

‘Friends First, Business cards Second’ Just as it would be socially unacceptable to turn up at a parSocial Media Etiquette5ty and start handing your business cards out all over the place, it is also socially unacceptable to turn up on the social media scene and start ‘puking’ your products all over the place. Even at a networking party, it is polite to engage the other person in polite conversation first, then ask what they do before finally offering your ‘pitch’ Same is true to an even greater degree on social media. The name says it all – it is ‘social media’, not ‘selling media’.

‘No Selling Here’ That is the unspoken, unwritten mantra of social media. However, No Selling does not mean ‘No Business’. The trick is in engaging people and siphoning them off of social media to your website, blog and free content campaigns to further the ‘relationship’ there.social media - no selling

Which brings me to the other end of the spectrum. Some people are so scared of breaking the unspoken rule of ‘No Selling Here’ that they never even mention the fact that they do have a business or a service to offer. Whatever business you are running and whatever medium you are using to communicate your marketing message, you need to have a Strategy.

Before you go online, you should ask yourself this one fundamental question: “What is the point here? What is it that I am trying to achieve?” If you do not have a strategy, Social media marketing risks sucking the lifeblood out of you, you get out there and before you know it you have wasted hours ‘networking’, having a good time, ‘interacting with the community’ … but without a strategy, what is the point of all that communication. You need to make sure you are talking ‘with purpose & on purpose’ otherwise you are just drivelling. And drivel does not a business grow!

Here is the rule: It is ok to offer great content (and some of that great content may well be your own), just don’t try to pitch, convert and close the deal all in one short post. Especially if you go out and auto-repeat that post 100 times!

Like most people out there on social media, these strategies are honed and crafted ‘on the battle field’. Most of the best strategies being taught out there are the result of battle scars obtained ‘out there, in action’. They are by no means perfect but they will at least help minimise your 'shell shock' in your first few days and weeks, until you craft your own techniques and strategies.

If you have any great tips to pass on or strategies to share to help others avoid going ‘missing, presumed killed in action’, please share them below. We’d love to hear from you & See you in Part 2 Smile 

To your Social Media Success Smile

Mandy Swift