Social Media Networking Etiquette
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“You should be nice on the internet – it lives forever!”
Who would have thought we would have to mind our manners and be nice, even on social media? In today’s society, there are those who do not care what they say — they are indeed blunt, harsh words; so much so, that online arguments can go on and on between two or more people until everyone is in a heated argument with one another. If you are going to put yourself out there on social media, why not show it with some dignity and respect for others? Everyone is different, and we all have opinions. I like that, and it adds spice to my life!
“A little negativity won’t hurt – so do it on your blog in a positive way.”
Heidi Angell writes about her stalking experience in her Hell School series, and it’s not uncommon for her to post articles about stalking and sexual assault awareness on her author page. She always tries to take the role of the observer, asking her followers what they think of the article and acting more of a moderator in the discussion, reminding people to remain civil and to not attack one another. She also spreads out these discussions with happy, positive posts and fun book reading memes.
Addressing negativity in a positive way also helps your audience to think about their actions and the actions of others online. People tend to remember negative experiences more than positive ones, so helping people to change their perspective on a discussion or event will reinforce the lesson.
Building Your Online Network
It’s important to build your connections from the beginning by starting off on the right foot. Here are some simple steps to follow to build your network in the right way.
Step 1: Give first of yourself to your social network connection.
That is, your contact, be it a business contact, associate, or friend. By giving of yourself in being there as a contact for him/her, the expectation is that you will get something in return. If you don’t, then you know that this is not the appropriate contact for you and your work.
Step 2: Define your connection strategy.
If at all possible, try to put your business connection and friend contacts into separate categories. Spend some time on your social media accounts, dividing everyone into several categories. As an author, you can use categories, like these: Authors, Readers, Reviewers, Marketers, Editors, Publishers, Conventions, Merchandisers, etc. Getting organized like this will help you keep things on track.
Step 3: Be there.
Be available. Try to answer questions or emails online when your business contact or friend contacts you as soon as possible. If you can’t do it right away, at least acknowledge you’ve received the message and will get back to them as soon as you can.
Step 4: Referrals.
You may get referred by your business contacts and friends. Don’t ignore those, and always follow up with a thank you. Remember, these contacts can lead to future help with your business ventures. Sending a quick weekly message to your contacts can help you to stay “top of mind” too.
Step 5: Be professional.
Remember, once it is on the internet, it never really goes away. So, think before you speak. If you feel like you have to rant about things, create a private page for just for people to post rants. Believe me, there is nothing more disgusting than listening to or reading someone going on and on with their points of view. I believe we are all entitled to our opinions, but I also believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
Step 6: Remember your brand.
Always keep in mind what you do, expanding towards advancing you and your brand. In a previous article A.L. Mabry wrote for OWS, she explains what indie authors should be doing with their networking. Don’t be afraid of word of mouth; in fact, think about how many times you’ve read an awesome book and recommended that author’s work to someone else?
Step 7: Praise publicly, rant privately.
Always make your public posts online positive, but keep your negativity in private chats or emails, or keep them to yourself. Be a professional.
Social media is a source for authors to connect with other authors, as well as our fans. We, as authors, need to mind our manners and be polite. One small negative note can be damaging to one’s career before it ever gets started. Getting a bad reputation is not how you want to be remembered.
“So, what if you open your mouth without thinking?”
It can happen to the best of us. If you said something you should not have, be it something offensive or hurt someone’s feelings, own up to it. Apologize to that person. Hopefully, s/he will accept the apology. Whether or not they do, at least you said you were sorry.
When all is said and done, it all boils down to being nice and refraining from saying something you will later regret and not be able to take back. Words do hurt. There is a lot of violence in the world today; be a voice of peace, a voice of calm, and a voice of understanding, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
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