Social media is meant to be just that…social – media. So I’ve come up with what I think is a great list of commandments to follow if you’re new OR experienced in social media.
1 – Thou shalt add value first, and sell LAST – If you have zero people in your network, and 3 articles on your blog, telling me about a joint venture opportunity I can REALLY benefit from is not going to work. Instead, leave a nice comment that adds value to one of my articles, or better, write an article on your own site that references my article, and then send me an e-mail letting me know about it.
2 – Thou shalt listen twice as much as you talk – You have two ears, and one mouth. Please use them in that proportion! Pay attention and pick your spots to contribute. You are NOT an expert in everything, no matter what you might think.
3 – Thou shalt not spam all your contacts – Just because we are connected, doesn’t mean I’ve given you permission to spam me with every time you come up with a new idea. Ask me…and I may give you permission.
4 – Thou shalt not act like a stuck up jerk, no matter how many folks are following you on any/every platform. In fact, I would say ESPECIALLY if you have a million folks who follow you. Seth Godin is a very friendly guy who responds to email, blog posts, and other things directed at him. If Seth Godin can make time to reply to email, so can you!
5 – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s contacts – After I meet folks in person, I often invite them to connect with me on the various social media networks I’m part of, and I am always happy to introduce you to someone who can help you, or who you can help. I always USED TO say: “If there is anyone in my network you’d like to meet, let me know and I’ll be happy to make the introduction.” I say USED TO because I had someone who went through my network and cherry picked more than 50 people to make a connection to because he thought they could all “benefit from his services.” Guess how many I introduced him to? HINT: It rhymed with hero! Instead, I now say “Let me know of 1 or 2 people in my network you’d like to meet, and what value you can add to their life, and I’ll be happy to introduce you.” That simple twists helps me weed out the spammers!
6 – Thou shall personalize every invitation I make to join any network – automated messages are for robots! Remind me how you know me and why, and it’ll help me remember why I should let you in. Especially annoying: Automated DM after following on Twitter.
7 – Thou shalt remember that 10 can be more powerful than 10000 – If someone has 10 readers to their blog, they might have a little more time to review your book or talk to you than someone who has 10000 readers and is constantly promoting the latest this or that. Therefore 10 can be WAY more powerful than 10000.
8 – Thou shalt not beg (for anything) – Don’t beg me to be your friend, to give you a link, or to connect me to so and so. Just ask nicely, tell me what value you’ll bring to the equation, and I’ll be happy to assist if I can.
9 – Thou shalt be authentic and transparent in all you do – Don’t hide anything from your readers. There’s no shame in promoting people you like, but say you like them. Also, there’s no shame in promoting stuff you believe in for a few dollars in an affiliate program, but don’t be shy about it and hide the URL in something on your domain that forwards to an affiliate link (unless you disclose it). I typically will shorten the URL if I’m doing an affiliate program, or you’ll if it’s short enough, you’ll see it.
10 – Thou shalt take the blog off the blog – Blogging and twittering is GREAT but now and then, go to a conference or two. Enjoy a cup of coffee or brew with someone local to you. Pick up the phone and call someone. Handwrite a thank you note. Take the blog off the blog.
Is this too much to ask of folks? Or are these 10 commandments of social media all you need?