Basic Guidelines for Social Media Marketing

When you go about marketing your online business through social media, there are a few basic guidelines you should aim to follow. These can be applied to forming connections in social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, as well as in social bookmarking services like Digg, StumbleUpon or Reddit – although, perhaps to a slightly lesser extent.

Being a success through social media is all about leveraging connections, and giving in to the fact that no website is an island. If you are completely self-absorbed and only socialize with others for your own benefit, then you will have a hard time building a loyal following. These next few tips will help get you moving in the right direction, so you can grow your network much faster by using social media. Here is the tips:
  • Get To Know The Culture: Before you get too trigger-happy and start sending friend requests or following people all over the place, get comfortable with how people interact in your chosen network. Find out what people respond to and get a sense of the language and etiquette people use when communicating with each other. Generally people will sense a spammer from a mile away, and most often it’s because spammers don’t interact in the same way as normal people do (or most times, not at all). If you want to avoid looking like a spammer, then learn to follow this communication etiquette.
  • Don’t Grow Your Network Too Fast: Another thing that could make you look rather bad is attempting to grow your friend or follower count too quickly. Having 10 followers when you follow about 500 will make people think twice about what you’re on the site for, and they probably won’t want to know you. If you grow your friend count at a more natural rate then it’ll look a lot better, and you’ll get many more people interested in connecting with you in the long run. Also, another key to being successful with social media is having a good quality following – not just quantity. Having 50 friends that you’ve taken the time to become closely acquainted with (and turn into loyal followers) is better than a few hundred that only serve to clog up your list.
  • Show Interest In Others: One way you can grow your network really quickly is to simply show that you’re interested in what others are doing – not by sending out a stock email, but by reading a person’s profile, visiting their website and sending them a personalized message to show that you care about their ambitions. This will get the majority of people you send requests to accepting them, or people you follow to follow you back – hence, avoiding too much of a hit-and-miss approach for growing your network.
  • Respond To Comments: If someone writes on your wall, or mentions you in a tweet, take the time to write back to them. This reassures people that there is an actual person sitting behind your account, and helps grow the trust that followers have in you. Obviously it can become a little difficult to keep up with everyone once your network gets really big, but in the initial stages you should try to do what you can to make each of your followers feel extra special.
  • Share Content From Other People: Re-tweeting or sharing content that other people post can do a lot to increase the trust and interest that your followers have in you. First, it indicates you are on the site to participate as a normal person would, and are not just there to send people to your own web links. Any relevant content you share adds value to those you share it with, and most of the time they will love you for it as much as if you had created the content yourself. Secondly, it hints to your followers that if any of them created a quality piece of content, then there’s a chance that you might take the time to share that as well.
  • Learn From Others: If you are still unsure about what you should be doing to succeed in social media, then one of the best things you can do is take a look at those who are already successful to see how they do it. Visit the people in your niche who have loads of friends or followers and watch how they interact with their network. Get to know the various techniques they use and you’re likely to find a way you can use them to grow your own following as well.

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