If you're new to the world of social networking, or can't understand why it's not working, you might not realize that online communities—like those at Facebook and Twitter—don't care for traditional marketing tactics. In a post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog, Paul Chaney serves up his top-ten tips for achieving social-media stardom. Some examples:

Remember to pull, not push. Social-media newbies often make the mistake of being too aggressive. "For example," says Chaney, "[they] respond to new Twitter followers with a 'Thanks for following. Visit my Web site for a free … [insert whatever promotional message you've seen.].'" Social networks are about conversations that build relationships, not indiscriminate come-ons.

Don't attempt social-network omnipresence. No one expects you to be everywhere, so choose the sites frequented by your customers. At a minimum, he advises, establish a presence at the big three: "LinkedIn is your business suit, Facebook is business casual, and Twitter is the 24/7 ongoing cocktail party."

Be yourself—literally. Chaney recommends using your own name as a handle and your headshot as an avatar, even if you're networking on behalf of your company. "[I]n social media," he remarks, "people would rather relate to and build trust with other people than brands. It's a trust economy after all."


The Po!nt: As quickly as social-networking tools have evolved, so too have the rules of the game. Becoming familiar with online protocol will smooth your path to digital success.

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