Posts Tagged ‘social networking etiquette’

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Monday, May 16th, 2011

Stressing out over Your Business’ Social Inadequacies?

stressed about social networkingMany businesses have been avoiding entering the social platform.  The idea of putting business matters in the public eye is more scary than exciting and the concept of getting linked in with other companies, including the competition, seems like a hook destined to sink.  If you are one of the many businesses still ignoring the power of social media or just can’t handle the stress of going social and the possibility of being socially inadequate, then it’s time to overcome your fears and step up to the social networking business plate.

There are a variety of reasons to go social with your business.  Social media has opened the door for influencing opinions about your business, generating new targeted sales leads and strengthening your search position in the World Wide Web.  One troubling factor for many business owners not yet worrying about search engines, twits and fans is the stress that can come with not properly maintaining, engaging and entertaining your social audience.  Once you hit the panic button on social media marketing, you are likely going to make poor decisions about your social networking time investment and come out with unfavorable results.

Part of the stress associated with social inadequacy comes because of the huge social pool one must wade through.  Everyday there is a new application, a new social network and a new tool for managing your social identity.  How can you ever be sure where you should hang your social hat and how often do you make conversations?

Businesses should always go where their customers are already at home and comfortable.  There are dozens and dozens of social networking and professional networking platforms, but only some of them are going to be appropriate to your business.  You can use Social Mention and Google Alerts to help to pinpoint which platforms are going to help you connect with the right followers, fans and friends.  However the three main players, Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are the best platforms to start building your social business identity.   While this isn’t the stressful part, knowing when and how to interact with your audience can and does spark feelings of social inadequacy.

Once you know where to be you have to be mindful of when to be.  Just because you find people talking about your brand, doesn’t mean you have an open invitation to join the conversation.  The best way to butt in on sensitive brand related matters is to offer information and links to information that would be of benefit to the conversation.  Monitor the interaction without getting involved and if necessary, private messaging one of the participants with contact information to talk to a company representative may be an appropriate course of action.

You only want to subtly encourage your brand.  Social networking is about building relationships more than it is about building leads, but in the end, those two elements walk nicely hand in hand to more sales.  Handling your social self with finesse doesn’t need to be stressful.  Make sure you invest time wisely and invest time properly by giving personal attention to your followers and fans to avoid the stress of feeling socially inadequate.  Also take the time to make it easy for your website visitors to find your social profiles by including the Follow Us button from Social Follow that allows you to include links to all your networking profiles without losing your own brand identity.

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Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The Social Networking Squeeze Job

It’s a classic case of the old bait and switch, but with a new web 2.0 twist.  Where once you got a flyer in the mailbox directing you to a store for the BIG deal of the day only to find that the deal wasn’t what you were expecting, today’s misdirected social networking tactics are rivaling those of the snail mail days.

There is definitely a place for building your brand with social media, but there is also a fine line that you can cross with your online presence.  None of your friends, fans or peeps wants to be the victim of yet another social squeeze job. So, what is the social squeeze job you may ask? It is publishing posts and tweets with great headlines that lead your friends and followers to your email list squeeze page and requiring them to cough up personal information to get to the link you originally posted; or worse yet, sending the unsuspecting fans of your brand to a completely unrelated page begging for a sale.

Nobody enjoys getting squeezed and the social squeeze is among the most annoying squeeze jobs in the book.  It is highly advisable to avoid misleading posts in an effort to build your email marketing list, unless of course you want your social networking pals to feel irritated, frustrated and even a little trapped by your brand.  It is unlikely they will be your friends for long though.  It is also worth your time to avoid generating posts that misdirect people to your sales lead page without ever revisiting your original link topic.

This isn’t to say that squeeze pages are bad.  Well, not all of them are bad.  A well constructed squeeze page that includes information that your visitors will find beneficial and answers a need is definitely a useful marketing tool.    The trick is to not be tricky about getting people to your page.  Make it worthwhile for people to click on your link and make them want to join your list.  A good opt-in page includes lots of details, answers to every question and it shouldn’t leave visitors feeling like their privacy is about to be violated.  Offering a coupon to all new newsletter subscribers or even the never tiring free eBook promise is better than offering a completely unrelated video clip at the cost of one’s email address.

Social media marketing is about building your brand and strengthening your customer loyalty.  It is about the open exchange of information and when you aren’t open or you play games with people’s trust it is going to have a negative effect on your business.  Avoid being part of the social squeeze job and share information with your followers freely, without requiring them to be on your email list or forcing them to your sales page.  They have already done you the favor of liking, fanning or tweeting with you, don’t scare them away with poor posting choices.

There are some things that you just shouldn’t do in the online social circle and using shocking headlines to drive traffic to your squeeze page is one of them, but getting found in different social networks is not.  The best way to let your customers and site visitors find you in their social circles is to add a social media button to your website and online profiles like the free FollowUs button from SocialFollow.  But the very best way to keep your followers is to avoid the social squeeze.

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Monday, March 7th, 2011

Tips for the Socially Inept: Basic Rules of Networking Etiquette

It is the classic movie scene where the not so socially savvy character enters the room and does something absolutely ridiculous.  The reason it makes you laugh every time is because we have all had to overcome our own social inadequacies at one point or another; some before an audience and some in close company of family or friends.   If you are a person who is always finding your foot in your mouth and making corrective attempts to explain your words or actions, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the rules of social networking etiquette to avoid being the social incompetent and embarrassing your business or brand.

Social networking is a giant monster operated by people communicating and connecting to build relationships and communities in the virtual world.  Just as you have to give your neighbors and customers in the real world a certain level of respect and cordiality, a strong online community can only be built on the strongest of moral foundations.  With social networking, you don’t have the benefit of face to face contact and you have to be ready to relinquish some control over your image and let your online identity learn to stand on its own. 

When it comes to social networking etiquette there is one big rule you need to remember from the start.  Nobody likes to feel like they are being advertised to.  Therefore the biggest trick to great social media marketing is to create an environment where your online community can give feedback, express their creativity, give an opinion and get some value out of having a connection with you.  With proper social networking etiquette, you can achieve the most loyal customer base and best word of mouth advertising around.

Start by avoiding being a Fake.  Don’t establish an alter ego online; go into your social media marketing campaign as yourself.  Don’t try to deceive your followers, friends and fans.  Just act as human as human can be in the online sense of the word.  The more real and sincere you keep your postings the more receptive, interactive and loyal your fan base will become. 

Strike up conversations that aren’t about you, your business or your brand.  That’s right, share other people’s information.  Whether relaying a fund raiser for one of your followers or advertising the sale of another local business, it is good social networking etiquette to keep the flow of information moving.  Reach out to a new follower by questioning them about their own post and sparking more involvement from even more people.  Showing a genuine interest in what your followers have to say shows respect and you will achieve respect for your own expertise in return.

This brings us to the next rule of social networking etiquette; sharing your expertise at no extra charge and without strings attached.  Don’t send people to your website to blindly search for information or to your sales pitch page to turn them off completely.  Do your best to answer questions directly and with a real answer.  Show that you aren’t out to capture a conversion, but to show that you know what you are talking about when it comes to your industry. 

Pretty much the rules of the offline world apply to the online social networking realm as well.  Use your social media marketing plan to have fun with your brand, learn more about your customer base and just bring an innovative edge to your business.  The best way to let people know which social networks to find you on is to include a free FollowMe button from SocialFollow on your website, blog and pretty much anywhere online visitors may encounter your brand.  From there, keep it real and watch what social networking can do for you.

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