I want to share a 10-step game plan for social-network involvement that I think will work for you. You don't have to think of these steps as commandments; rather, they are practical guidelines that will make you a better member of the social-networking communities in which you participate.
1. Pull, Don't Push
One of the first lessons you will learn very quickly when engaging in social media is that old-school marketing tactics don't work. Don't come out of the gate pushing your products or services. New tools require new rules.
For example, don't respond to new Twitter followers with a "Thanks for following. Visit my website for a free... [insert promotional message]."
Such a response is a dead giveaway that you are new to social media and do not yet understand that it's a "pull" medium, not a "push" medium. If I want to review your credentials, I'll read your bio. (You did complete your bio, right?)
2. Win the Right to Be Heard
Social-media engagement is a conversation, and participation in the community is required. In fact, you might say that participation is the fifth P of marketing. (The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion.)
Your value as a participant is judged by the value you provide to the community as a whole. Be a "glory hog," and you'll garner little attention. Share freely, and you will become a respected member.
Paul Chaney is a veteran digital marketing consultant, trainer, writer, editor, and author of four books, including The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media. Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org.
LinkedIn: Paul Chaney