The 10 Commandments of Social Networking
The importance of being personal, professional, and specific.
Commandment 1: Use tools appropriate for social networking.
Use your photo, not a logo, for your profile picture. You would not introduce yourself as Joe’s Painting, you would introduce yourself as Joe. The exception to this rule is if you are a part of a franchise that requires the use of the logo. However, understand that if you are using a logo as your profile picture it will take significantly longer to build trust in social networks. Remember, people do business with people first, brands second.
Use applications to make it easy and clear how to contact you. Just as at a networking event you would pass out a business card with your name and contact information on it, online you need to let people know how to contact you in a similarly easy and recognizable way.
Use your Facebook page to network—not as a brochure. If you want a brochure build a web site.
Just as you carry and distribute brochures, cards, and other collateral materials for your business, an impactful cover photo that captures the essence and emotion of your brand as well as a well-written “About” section will solidify your professional image. Don’t skimp on these! For best results, hire a professional who can make sure they are consistent and professional.
Commandment 2: Set a goal for every social network you join.
Before you go public, learn how to use the site and set up your profile. Only connect with the number of people you are able to manage. More is not better; it’s just more. Set a goal for the number of posts, as well as the number of interactions, per day. Use auto-posters like Hootsuite less than 10% of the time when posting. According to a recent study by Hub Spot®, Facebook posts posted via auto-posters suffer a 67% decline in interaction over those posted manually.
Because you have specific people you want to connect with, have a plan that prioritizes those with whom you will connect—and assign deadlines to each name.
Commandment 3: Act like a host, not a guest.
Social networking should be a party. You need to have fun! Thanks to the advent of DVRs and TiVo, we no longer have to watch commercials. If your page is only a commercial, your prospects are likely to fast forward before they get to know you. Remember, you have about three seconds to show them who you are, so think about how to make an instant impact.
Connect yourself to others by tagging people, businesses, and organizations. You will bring them to your page and you to theirs. Just remember not to tag your fans and friends in promotional photos. It will turn them off and cause them to stop following your posts. This is how you act like a host online.
Interacting with businesses on their pages will bring traffic back to you as well as help that business gain status.
Know who you are, and don’t be afraid to be that person. People may remove you, but for every unlike, you will gain five. Be real, don’t be boring, or don’t do it.
Commandment 4: Promote your product or service.
A good benchmark for promoting via social networking is the Rule of Thirds: a third should be about you; a third about your industry; and a third about your partners.
Never make a sales pitch as a means of introduction. Remember those door-to-door vacuum sales people? If you have an auto responder, that’s you online!
Five minutes of friendly conversation is more valuable than two weeks worth of links to your latest affiliate account. The more real you are, the more valuable your connections will be. This goes for outsourcing too. If your marketing team is 100% responsible for your social media, the less personal it will be perceived; it may be time to reevaluate and get the rest of your crew on board.
Commandment 5: Listen and ask plenty of questions.
Interact with at least 5-7 people a day; visit their page and make comments. On your own page, ask questions of your contacts daily.
Some ideas include:
Be comfortable with being a little irreverent; people will like you even more.
Commandment 6: Offer support and be the connector whenever possible.
Offer tips and advice. You can never give away too much for free. Some of the top-selling business books of the past ten years have offered every word for free on a blog.
Pay attention to your connections’ interests (see Commandment 3 if you are uncertain how to do this), and connect them to others in your database who have similar interests.
If you let the world know how your connections have helped you, they might be able to help someone else in the same way.
Commandment 7: Manage your connections
Earlier, we mentioned more is not necessarily better. People interact with pages where hosts encourage interaction. So if you are a hair salon in Tampa and you have 5,000 followers, but 3,500 are in Beijing, you’d do better with 250 in your hometown. Remember, birds of a feather flock together.
Regularly go through your connections and weed out the ones who are totally irrelevant to you (like those people in Beijing following your hair salon). If your community doesn’t resonate with your target market, they will not want to interact there.
Commandment 8: 60 minutes online a day is enough to be successful with social networking, not just with friends.
If all of your followers are related to you, you need to get out of your cave and into the web. While games can help strengthen relationships, the time you spend on gaming does not count as business development. Three to five messages back and forth warrant a phone call. Remember, your goal is to create a relationship to generate results.
Commandment 9: Make all your interactions specific to the individual
You can do this by:
Commandment 10: Follow up
The goal of social networking is to take the relationship to the next step, whether it’s booking a sales session or a speaking engagement, setting up an appointment for coffee or a beer, or getting together to learn more about each other’s business, etc.
Utilizing these tips can help you properly engage in social media, in the pursuit of making more money in less time.
This article is inspired by the “10 Commandments of Networking a Mixer,” created by Dr. Ivan Misner, and adapted them for the world of social networking.
About the Authors:
Tiffanie Kellog helps people make more money in less time while having fun. She owns Thread Art, a business that specializes in helping companies make more money through promotional products! Tiffanie also loves helping people grow their business by WOM Marketing. She trains via BNI Members and Referral Institute programs. She is also a contributing author on “Money on the Table,” professional speaker, and a blogger at www.tiffaniekellog.com.
Renia Carsillo helps people make more money. She is the author of One Man, One Show: 21 Weeks to Profitable Self- Employment and the upcoming, Lessons of a Recovering Know-It-All.
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