Twitter may be the buzz word today, your granny may be a Facebook junkie, the cat of the cute girl next door may be a Flickr sensation; but as much as you may pretend to ignore it — Social Networking is more dangerous than drugs! And when we are dealing with something as dangerous as the addictiveness of the Social Networking sites we couldn’t be more careful. Because if we don’t, it can prove to be the very end of our virtual/social life. In this post, let me present you with the top 5 mistakes of social networking that are actually more dangerous than they seem. These rules if adhered to, will help you go a long way with your social network experience.
1. Watch what you say: The public nature of the social networking sites is also the most dangerous thing about them. You say (tweet, set a status message, leave a scrap, comment) something and it STAYS there till eternity, for the rest of the world to watch and judge. Being funny might be a good thing to be considered “sociable”, but what if your potential boss fails to see the humor? Extreme case in point: There were at least couple of occasions where guys had to land in jail, because the police didn’t find their tweets funny!
2. Don’t be the Sales Guy: Okay, we know. That most of us join social networking to gain something in return. So, it makes perfect sense to spam others with your affiliate links, right? WRONG! No other feeling is more irritating than the feeling of being at the cross-hair of a spam-attack. Avoid forcing your business to other people. It is considered as spamming if you try to overly promote your business. It’s just like going to a conference and handing out your business card to EVEYONE even before you are introduced. When you don’t do this in real life, then why in the social networking sites?
3. Politics and Religion: Okay, we know – it’s a free Nation (world) and everyone has right to freedom of speech blah blah blah… But the fact remains that people join social networking sites to connect with others and while doing so they prefer to leave their political view and religious beliefs behind. Obviously, they expect the same from you, as well. So stay away from strong political or religious views. Since people can have different views in these areas, it is in your best interest if you remain neutral and professional all the time.
4. Consistency is the Key: Irrespective of whether you are an average Joe, a social networking guru or a huge multi-national trying to leverage social networking to connect with its consumers, being consistent is the key to your social networking success. Social networking can take up a lot of time – agreed! But, if you get bored with it and stop updating your profile (status updates, community updates, pics, tweets, videos etc), it is just a matter of time that your friends/followers/consumers will also get bored of you and will stop following you. Make sure you make a schedule and more importantly — stick to it. Although you don’t want to spend all of your time on social networking sites, you DO want to consistently update every day and there are automated tools to help you do so.
5. Incomplete Profile: Even if you don’t feel like completing your profile page and even if you don’t think that it is important, on the contrary, it is the most important thing for your success in social networking sites. Just because of the fact that I have included this point as the last mistake, don’t assume that it is the least important of all. Your profile is where people will go to find more information about you and your business. This is the place where you should be genuinely talking about your business, and maybe even provide a link to it. If you go around adding value to forums, it is most likely that people will be interested to visit your profile, so make sure it looks impressive. Compare your social networking profile page to the home page of your blog or company website and suddenly you will start seeing more value in it.
Which of these mistakes have you committed in your social networking life? Feel free to add your own mistakes to the list via commenting.