Here is the thing about social networking online:
1: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business
Are you with me so far? I’m thinking for many of you, not so much. It has gotten to be a real pain the arse to socially network on the Internet because too many of you don’t get it. It is a social EXCHANGE. Not a you come to all my sites and gather all the knowledge I have and give nothing back. Nope, not the way it works. You seem to forget the social before the network. Networking is awesome, you should do it, but do it appropriately.
Couple of differences between professional networking and social networking.
This is a professional networking site. It is not so much a social networking site. You should not sign up for LinkedIn expecting to make new friends and sell lots of your product. You should be looking to communicate with other professionals who have some kind of relation to your industry. People you can share your knowledge with and those you can also learn from. It is professional.
The key here is that when I give you some bit of information, you give me some other bit of information back. You, then me, you, me…see how that goes? Below is my quick lesson on how to use the three main networking sites.
This is a social networking site. But there are still points of etiquette involved. Don’t just share what everyone else posts. If you read an interesting article, share the link. If you see a cool image, share the link, if you take a funny picture of your dog, share the image. Or heaven forbid, just ask questions that you’ve always been afraid to ask. It’s Facebook, nobody is going to criticize you.
Why is it that when our eye itches and we pull out like 6 eyelashes at a time we don’t have huge bald spots on the edge of our eyelids? How fast do eyelashes grow back?
I have a friend who is a really hard-sell on this one. Something about inane chatter. Well, maybe to you, but in their network of followers they may all care what their friend is having for dinner. They may be swapping recipes. Or sharing book reviews, or all manner of things.
Because I am following lots of gardeners on Twitter, I am getting an overflow of links to various gardening sites which are helping me to get my garden in shape. Nothing inane about that. I also post links to books I have reviewed so others can know what I thought and perhaps help them decide if they want to read that book. I also have friends who live far away who I keep in touch with.
What I don’t do is shamelessly promote my company and my books in print with every single tweet. I do promote, but I make certain that I give my followers information they might be able to use and not just what I want them to know. It’s a common courtesy thing.
This is a relatively new one and the jury is still out on whether it is good or bad and whether or not it will survive. I think it’s cool. I also think it is a great way to get to know people.Oh wait, there is that whole social networking idea again. Every day I get 40-50 notifications that people are following me and I should follow them back. Well, that is all well and good, but I have like 22 boards up on my Pinterest account with all manner of stuff. My Tinker Bell trading, Women in the Mafia, all kinds of things. What I don’t have are blank boards, or one board with only the books I have written up there.
Come on people. If you are going to take the time to set up an account, then set it up right and follow through. Profile, set up some boards, add one or two things each day or at the least every week. Give people a reason to actually follow you back.
I can tell you one thing, I don’t care if you are following me or not, if you have no boards, or your only board is “Books I Wrote.” I will NOT follow you back.
So I guess what I’m saying here is, if you want to socially network, then be willing to give back and don’t just be a greedy taker.