As a writer, I’m required to promote myself and my publications through various social networks. On the plus side, I’ve become acquainted with interesting people from around the globe and learned a little about lifestyles and politics in different countries. Facebook has been a good place to socialize with no target audience intended. Twitter leaves me in a quandary. As far as I can tell, people use my site as a place to post their promotional information. Never a word passes between us.
Kerry Hannon’s article in the September issue of Money Magazine, outlines internet etiquette even if self-promotion is part of the objective. Here are some of her dos and don’ts. “Stand Out on Social Media (pgs. 27-28)
Feel free to brag about your accomplishments. (Ibid pg. 28) If you’ve published a book, won an award, received a promotion, share. People like good news. The trick is to reciprocate with enthusiasm when they have news.
A good picture of yourself is important. People want to make friends with others who look alive and energetic. (Ibid pg. 28)
When you make comments on other people’s entries, keep the focus on them. You’re on the site to share experiences which includes theirs as well as yours. (Ibid pg. 28) I’m amazed at the number of people who forget this courtesy.
Hannon emphasizes the importance of keeping up with the flow of conversation, too. She suggests checking in twice a day to keep abreast of updates, particularly when a person is about to have surgery or a beloved pet has died. I agree with this advice, incidentally. I particularly enjoy travel pictures of my Facebook friends lunching at a Paris Bistro or doing a little wine tasting in Napa Valley. Hey, I’ll even click the “like” button for a picture of favorite rose bush when it’s in bloom.
Don’t use an inappropriate photo; engage in too much discussion about drugs and alcohol; talk badly of others; use poor communication skills and prejudicial speech. (Ibid pg 28.) If you want to reach people successfully, Hannon says, put your best foot forward. Your social site, isn’t your psychiatrist’s couch and not the best place to “let it all hang out.”
The author’s advice is simple common sense. But I’d like to add one more suggestion. A little honesty wouldn’t go amiss.