You don't get to be a social-networking superstar without paying your dues. "The way I look at it," says Jay Baer in a video at his blog, "you ought to try to maximize the value of the time spent." His tips for reaching that goal include:

Remembering the Eight-to-One principle. This idea, borrowed from Chris Brogan, means you should talk about others eight times for each thing you say about yourself. There's a good reason for doing so: The more you discuss what others say and do, the more likely they are to reciprocate.

Showing your personality. "You're going to be more successful in social networks if people have an idea of the real you—not just the business you, not just the consultant you," he says. But beware of sharing TMI [too much information], a common mistake in the world of social networks. "Some people go crazy and they're all out in the ether, talking about weird stuff they wouldn't even share with their mom," he continues. "I want you to be human, I want you to be a person—but not a freak."

Asking for help. Many of the marketing world's heavy-hitters can be surprisingly generous with their time and insight. Says Baer, "There are people you that could never get on the phone, that you could have a dialogue with through a social network right away."

Baer's tips for making the most of social-networking investment are pure Marketing Inspiration—so turn on the charm, treat contacts with respect and enjoy the positive results.

More Inspiration:
Paul Williams: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Chop Down The Tree
Paul Chaney: Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen Social-Media Strategy
Stephanie Miller: What Will Your 2009 Legacy Be?

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