Party balloonsSocial media is like an endless series of parties and social functions that you are free to attend. When you go to a party or social gathering, there are certain manners and rules of etiquette that you should try to abide by. There are many subtleties to being a good party guest and those who understand these are often invited back and have other guests gravitate towards them.

The same is true on social media. Know these rules of etiquette and you will find that you become a welcome and popular guest, with many people eager to hear from you or engage in your conversations.

So what are the rules?  Try these for starters:

Don’t Advertise Too Much – If At All

If you show up to a party and spend all your time talking about what you do and your business, people will lose interest. No one goes to a party to hear advertisements and no one joins Facebook or Twitter to hear a constant stream of why they should use your product or service. Social media is not about free advertising, it’s about free networking. If you spend enough time talking to other people about what interests them or what interests you share, you will form a connection and eventually they will come to know what your product or service is – without having to advertise or sell.  And when they need what you are selling, who do you think they will call?

Be Respectful

Be respectful and courteous to other people at the party. If you treat other guests at a party with disrespect, you are not likely to make friends and will not likely be invited back.  People will avoid you and that’s not what you want. Same thing on social media. You may disagree with someone and you are free to express yourself, but do it diplomatically. Even if someone is disrespectful to you – be cool! Don’t stoop to their level. Other guests will see the conversation and you will gain respect by staying on the high road.

Ask Others About Themselves

This is one of the most fundamental tips for any social engagement, online or in person. Asking people about themselves shows that you find them interesting and value what they have to say – and who doesn’t like that?  This is a great way to get to know someone while building strong relationships.

Be Helpful

Whether it’s how to fix a leaky faucet, plant a garden or plan a trip, everyone likes free help and advice. Pay attention to questions that people are asking and provide insights if you have something to contribute. Many people go a step further and offer free services as a way of connecting with more people. Advertising a free service, with no strings attached, is considered good form.  Just don’t use it to bait people – it should be honest and sincere and will reap tremendous rewards.

Don’t Spam

On social media, spamming is the kiss of death. People HATE spam. If you have something to say, great – find an appropriate conversation to join and say it. If people find it interesting, they will pass it along to their friends and connections. If they don’t, well, maybe it’s just not that interesting. The key is to talk about something that is truly interesting to people. Add your content strategically with the goal of getting other people engaged.

Now Go To The Party and Have Fun!

Social media really is a lot like going to a party. If you go with the intent of having fun, meeting people and making connections without focusing too much on your product or service, you will find your audience growing steadily along with your rankings and website traffic.

 

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