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Be Professional: Act Like It's a Cocktail Party

May 22, 2009  

You might have seen the PSA in which a teenage cyber-bully reads her hateful words from the podium of a school assembly. The absurdity of the scene illustrates a disconnect that often exists between our online and offline behavior—when emboldened by the impersonal buffer of a social network, we might say or do things we never would in person.

In a post at his Web Ink Now blog, David Meerman Scott encourages readers to treat social-networking sites as if they're cocktail parties. In other words, to interact with others in the same way you would at a face-to-face industry mixer. To make his point, he asks questions like these:

  • Do you go into a large gathering filled with a few acquaintances and tons of people you do not know and shout "BUY MY PRODUCT"?
  • Do you go into a cocktail party and ask every single person you meet for a business card before you agree to speak with them?
  • Do you listen more than you speak?

"Sure, you can go to a cocktail party and hit everyone up as a sales lead while blabbing on about what your company does," says Scott. "But that approach is unlikely to make you popular."

Your Marketing Inspiration: Before you say something at Facebook or elsewhere, ask yourself if you'd say it to the person standing next to you. Unless you're really obnoxious, a "yes" means it's probably okay.

More Inspiration:
CK: Making Sure Your Brands Don't 'Boob'
Ted Mininni: New Under the Sun: The Biodegradable Bag
Jacob Morgan: Do You Know the Value of Your Customers?


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