Back in November 2013, I was requested to write a guest post for my buddy Adrienne Smith. Whenever I agree to write a guest post for someone, I try to make it a pretty epic post; that’s why I don’t do it all that often.

At the beginning of this year Adrienne shut down her blog, so all her content disappeared, including this post. I’d totally forgotten about it until a link popped up somewhere reminding me that I’d written it. Since I got almost 300 comments over there, and since I’m the guy who said that I believe there are times when it’s okay to take content from another blog, especially if you wrote it and the other blog no longer exists, and since I think this was a pretty good post, I decided to repost it here so I can re-link it to some of my other posts where I mentioned it. Enjoy!

Can You Etch It - Social media refrigerator magnets - Laser engraved
Creative Commons License Alan Reeves via Compfight

A lot of people hear about social media and social media marketing, but you don’t often hear or see many people talking about social networking. In my opinion, if you’re not performing social networking properly, everything else fails because you’ve given no one any reason to pay attention to you.

Let’s define social networking. It’s really not that much different than any other type of networking except it’s networking done through social media activities. That’s my definition, and basically it means blogging, sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even email. If you’re not willing to think about entertaining the idea of having a conversation with anyone online, even minor conversations, then you’re not social networking.

That’s what the topic is going to be on today. I thought about only doing 10 things, then I realized that everyone else always does 10, including myself. Since I want this to be a special post, we’re going to do 11. So without any further ado let’s get started.

1. Responding to blog comments

This one should be a no-brainer, and yet over the years you wouldn’t believe how many blogs I go to where there are comments on posts and yet the person who wrote the article doesn’t respond to those comments. The reason I say “person” rather than the blog owner is that sometimes the post is written by a guest poster.

Not responding to people who comment on blog posts is probably one of the most arrogant things I can think of that some bloggers do. I can understand when you’re a very popular blogger who might get hundreds of comments that it may be hard to keep up with every single one of them, but people appreciate the attempt to at least address some comments. For those of us who often get 10 comments or less, not responding to a blog comment is criminal unless it’s a lousy comment.

Please tell me this isn’t you, and if it is don’t own up to it just stop ignoring people who are giving their time and attention to what you write. If the comment is bad I don’t expect you to do respond to it, just get rid of it.

2. Responding to comments on social media sites

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Most people are connected to others on places like Twitter and Google Plus who put something out on those sites. What I find is that maybe 80% to 85% of the people who I write a comment to based on those posts, that I don’t interact with on a regular basis, won’t even acknowledge me, or might give me a general “thanks for sharing my post” and ignoring anything else I might have said.

Personally I find that offensive because for the most part people follow me first and then I checked them out to see if they ever talk to anybody. If they don’t talk to anybody I don’t follow them, but if they do then it’s my impression that if I write them directly based on something that they’ve written or shared that I think is interesting enough to comment on, that they will write me back.

Once again, it’s all about social networking. If you’re following 500 people or more I don’t expect you to say hello or comment on every single thing you see. However, unless you’re a media star you’re probably not getting that many people who are writing you directly or including you in on conversations of almost any type. I hear some of you saying that you don’t think you’re getting everything out of social media that you should be, yet I’m betting you’re one of those people who picks and chooses what you’re going to respond to, if you respond at all.

If you’ve ever been to a regular networking event you know how hard it is to go up to someone you don’t know and start talking to them. Social media makes it easier because you don’t have that person standing right in front of you, therefore you shouldn’t be intimidated. If you don’t have any plans on ever talking to anybody on social media except people you know, then remove all those other people from your stream because you’re wasting peoples time, and you’re being disingenuous to the purpose of social networking.

3. Commenting on links or articles that other people share

So you’re one of those people who actually sometimes shares something that you’ve seen that someone else has put up. I’m proud of you for that, but I have to ask if you’ve gone the next step of commenting in some way on what you’re sharing. For that matter, I have to ask if you even looked at what you’re sharing.

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Whereas it’s a great thing to share things that other people put up on different social media sites, including blog posts by the way, what you might be trying to dodge is that you are basically endorsing whatever it is you’re sharing. Those people who claim not to be endorsing what they share are basically committing fraud right in your face because they could care less what kind of content they’re giving you and they’re trying to dodge responsibility for putting it in your stream, no matter what site you happen to be on.

I’m not going to say that I comment on 100% of the links I’ve share anywhere, but I comment on at least 50 to 75% of what I share where I can. Even if it’s just a link to an image I may say a word or two letting people know whether I like it or not. It’s hard to say a lot on Twitter when you only have 140 characters, and sometimes the original message is so long that you can’t comment, but those are the exceptions and not the rule you should follow. Does it really take too much time to share your thoughts on things that you share? Wouldn’t you like people to do that for you?

4. Slow down on the marketing thing

I get it, you’re hoping to make money online and you know you can’t make any money if you don’t market or advertise. Let me ask you a question; when you watch TV, would you be happy with only five minutes of programming and 25 minutes of commercials?

There’s nothing wrong with an advertisement here and there, or marketing when you have something new that you want to promote. But if that’s all you’re about then people are going to tune you out because you haven’t done any real social networking. As any real marketer will tell you people aren’t interested in your product, they’re interested in what you can do for them. But people don’t trust you if they don’t have any idea who you are, and if all you are to them is a constant commercial, they’re going to move on to somebody else who’s talking directly to them.

For those people who get mad because you’ve thrown in an advertisement when you’ve given them nine or 10 great articles or ideas they can use to make their lives better in some way, those people aren’t who you need to worry about in the first place. Online or offline, it’s all about relationships, and when you learn that lesson you’ll be a success.

5. Slow down on perpetual links, quotes, and general status updates

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Some people think that keeping their name consistently in front of everybody else is the best way to brand themselves. The truth of the matter is that being in front of people often enough can help brand you, but only if you’re giving people something they either need or want.

I love the motivational quotes, but if you’re putting one out every five minutes 24 hours a day and I know that at some point you’re sleeping or away from your computer, I’m going to get irritated and so is everyone else. The same goes for consistently posting links at a pace that doesn’t allow me to get a breath, or posting updates every 3 to 4 minutes of your day telling me things like you’re drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, or getting ready to go to the bathroom.

I’m not one of those people who likes a lot of automation, and it might be holding me back as far as spreading my message to the masses. Except for the first posting of most of my blog articles because I write them ahead of time, if you see anything that shows up on any social media site and you know I’m the one who posted it then you know I’m actually around for you to talk to. In my opinion that’s very important because if someone responds to something I’ve put out within 15 to 30 minutes they can pretty much guarantee I’m going to say something to them, no matter what time of day or night.

This gives me another chance to network with people who I might not know all that well, and there’s no better way of building a social networking presence than actually talking to someone once you’ve got their attention. If you’re just posting links all day long, even if they’re not your links, what reason have you given anyone to actually talk to you?

6. Actually liking or commenting on videos

Did you know that there are over 1 billion views a day on YouTube? How many videos do you watch? How many videos do you create?

I have two video channels. On one of my channels, my business channel, I’ve had some videos that have gotten over 300 views. However, I not only do not get all that many comments, I also don’t get many likes or dislikes, although nobody really wants dislikes.

So let me get this straight; you will watch a video anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes, and when you’re done you don’t think it deserves any kind of acknowledgment whatsoever? Sure, you’ve helped build up the viewer numbers, but do you realize what you’re missing by not commenting?

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Likes are a different story, because people like me, who does like or dislike most videos I watch, don’t allow tracking of which videos I like or dislike. Therefore, unless I comment on a video no one is never going to know whether I liked it or not. I don’t comment on all videos, although I’ll comment about half the time, whereas if I actually like the video I will click the thumbs up button at least 80% of the time.

People like being acknowledged for the work they do, whether it’s blogging or making videos. At the same time, you actually get the opportunity to promote yourself by leaving comments on either blog posts or videos, and if you leave good comments people are likely to follow you back to your channel or your blog. Once again, it’s great social networking and the chance to grow your follower base.

7. Having an image for your comments and your social media sites

Who are you anyway? Are you a cartoon? Are you a logo? Or are you a human being? Do you look like the Elephant Man?

If you’re human, and I know that you are, you should be using an image, aka avatar, aka gravatar, showing your face no matter where you are on social media. True, there are some pretty prominent people who use a logo instead of their image, but most of those people created those things a long time ago, before video started to take off and viewers and readers started to care more about the people who were creating content.

I know that some people won’t accept comments from anyone who doesn’t have an image or avatar. I’m not quite that bad, but any comment that comes to this blog without one goes into moderation first. I also won’t follow anyone who doesn’t have some kind of image on their Twitter or other social media profiles.

What are you afraid of? If you’re worried about your privacy when it comes to your own image you shouldn’t be on social media in the first place. People like to converse, work, and buy from those who they feel comfortable with, and if they don’t know who you are or what you look like it’s just putting up another barrier that not everyone has the opportunity to bridge. Just something to think about.

8. Linking to and occasionally promoting someone else in a blog post

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When I have written about things that people can use for inspiration and writing blog posts when they have writers block, one of the things I offer up is to write a blog post based on something that they’ve read, either a news story or a blog post. If you’re going to write a blog post based on an article you’ve read, it doesn’t hurt to link back to that blog post, and it doesn’t hurt to mention the person’s name and the name of their blog while you’re at it.

I’m lucky to rarely have writers block, but I have never worried about sharing my space with someone whom I can quote or share while writing my articles. Imagine how good people feel when you’ve been able to write something positive and attach their name to it. Think about how you would feel if you found that someone benefited from something that you wrote and is giving you accolades for it. Talk about the start of some great social networking. 🙂

9. Giving others credit when it’s due

Nobody likes plagiarists, but this isn’t exactly talking about them. Instead, it’s writing about something where you got the idea from someone else and not mentioning them. It’s retweeting something from someone you know who originally retweeted it, and not trying to find a way to get their name on your retweet.

It’s sharing something you saw on Facebook or on Google Plus and not ever mentioning where you might have got it from. Have you ever heard the term “quid pro quo”? What you find is that when you do something for someone that they didn’t ask you to do, often they will end up doing something for you in return. That should never be your motivation for doing something nice for others, but it’s not a bad benefit for you if it occurs.

I’ll add this though; there are a lot of people writing things that aren’t helping you help them. It’s easy to paste in someone’s name, but if they don’t have social share buttons to link to on these platforms, then you get a break in not helping to hype them; they’ll just have to rely on the links you share to help them out instead.

10. Don’t ask for anything without being willing to give something more

There are many celebrities on social media. There are also some social media celebrities that we all know. They’re always getting asked for favors by people who really don’t know who they are, and haven’t been willing to do even the simplest things such as commenting on their blog posts or sharing their articles. In other words, they’re looking for something for nothing and trying to tell these folks how it will benefit them.

The same goes for guest posting requests. I have one blog that I accept guest posts on (I don’t any longer), and the majority of people who write me send me a form letter telling me how many words their post will have and how it will benefit my blog by having new content.

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What they’ve missed is that I have a guest posting policy on the blog (now an advertising policy) that I know they haven’t seen, therefore I dump their emails without any kind of response. True, accepting guest posts can help a blog grow, but nobody sends guest posting requests to blogs that aren’t ranked well, therefore the benefit is really more for the guest poster (even when the poster has been requested to write an article) than it is for the person whose blog it is.

Years ago I wrote Guy Kawasaki and asked him if he would list my business blog on one of his Alltop pages. I did this after helping him edit one of his books, writing a blog post about it when it came out, and writing a review of the book on Amazon. It was a simple request, and I didn’t insult his intelligence by telling him how wise it would be to list my blog on his page, but I did remind him of who I was because after all he’s Guy Kawasaki and I’m me. And he listed me, and my link is still there; that’s pretty cool. I also got editing credit in the book; that’s even cooler! 🙂

Don’t ever expect to get something for nothing. If it happens, then maybe you’ve been blessed or you caught someone on a mentally weak day. Always be willing to go that extra step if you’re hoping for things to go your way later on.

11. Be as nice as you possibly can

I think this is imperative, but you notice I didn’t say always be nice. Every once in a while you have to take a stand for something you believe in, and even though you don’t have to be a jerk, you don’t have to be as nice as, well, being nice. LOL!

With some forethought you will find that you can disagree with someone and not be insulting. You will find that people will be more apt to listen to what you have to say if you can present a point of view without too much negative emotion. You will find that more people will be attracted to you when you treat them with kindness than with derision.

When you can positively motivate people you end up positively motivating yourself. Star Wars got it right when they warned you about the dark side. The dark side is powerful, but being nice can overcome the darkness. Always be truthful, or at least as much as you can, but be nice, kind, warm, accommodating, comforting, inspirational, and as much as possible make people smile. Make them think, and make them feel good as well.
 

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