A monthly column featuring branding + design tips and tricks for standing out online.
Understanding Online Etiquette and the Rules Social Media Engagement
Ever find yourself at a meet-up or conference and someone hands you their card and says let’s stay in touch? Then you look at their card and there are 15 different methods to engage with them. What do you do next?
- Send them a friend invite on Facebook?
- Start to follow them on Twitter?
- Send a LinkedIn request?
- Email them to request a lunch meet up?
- Or just call their phone number and leave a message to hook-up again soon?
Well, the answer is, “it depends”.
When engaging online you need to consider the human touches in all communications and realize that what you say online is pretty much permanent and can be interpreted differently by different people.
Consider these techniques to kick-start your digital connections and insure your brand is properly engaging online:
- ASK, DON’T ASSUME.
- DEVELOP ON- AND OFF-LINE SOCIAL EQUITY.
- ESTABLISH AND NURTURE BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
- BE A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT.
At the point a person hands you their card in a networking event, be prepared to ask them how they prefer to communicate online. If they have several social media sites referenced, take out your pen and circle the one they use the most.
Remember that networking in person and online require a similar process. We don’t walk up to someone at a networking event we do not know and thrust our business cards in their hand. Instead we say hello, shake hands, introduce ourselves and do some small talk to get acquainted and see if we are a fit, then we ask to share contact information to stay in touch. This practice should repeat itself online, by sending a LinkedIn invitation to connect and continue the conversation or by following them on Twitter and communicating on like-minded topics.
There is a simple rule in networking, “give and you will get”. So take time to read, recommend and recognize those in your online community that make contributions and provide value. Re-tweet, share and like their online communications to show them that you agree or appreciate their knowledge.
My most important online etiquette rule is to “un-market” when communicating. Do not push out your products or services, instead, share your knowledge on a subject, ask for feedback on a topic or ask their opinion if they are the expert by adding a link to more information if they are interested.
Robin Bramman Brand Experience and Digital Media Coach who specializes in chic + savvy Online Identity solutions! The founder of Chic Branding and Partner at EEKO Design Studio, Robin works with high-achieving professionals and innovative entrepreneurs in defining their brand and interactive strategies to increase her client’s digital visibility.