Bad social networkingWhenever I have new followers, Twitter notifies me. This way I can check them out and follow back if they’re worthy. Many times, I pass on following back because some of these users’ tweets are mostly self-serving. Social networking will not pay off for these people because their actions resemble the networking abusers in Stop Networking … Start Building Relationships.

Instead of handing out and collecting business cards, these online networking stragglers drone on about their business. This activity is comparable to passing out cards without bothering to have a conversation. It takes no time to identify the anti-social people of online networking.

Here are the comment behaviors of the anti-social in online networking:

  • They tweet nothing but titles and links to the latest blog post or news item from their own website. (These tweets are obviously automated.)
  • They never engage or mention others in conversations.
  • Their updates often refer to the latest free download or webinar.
  • They don’t share an original thought that isn’t self-serving.
  • They repeatedly ask for Facebook page likes.

People doing these activities may be new to social networking and aren’t aware they’re not using it to its fullest. Yes, we can post self-promotional updates. It’s how often and how you go about it that makes a difference.

I’ve seen a few good rules of thumb about how often to share self-serving updates, such as:

  • “Promote other people’s stuff 12 times as much I as do mine (12:1 rule).” — Chris Brogan
  • Post one self-serving tweet for every 9 or 10 tweets.
  • Follow the Pareto principal: 80/20 where 80 percent would be about them and 20 percent would be about you.
  • Apply the 4-1-1 rule. “For every one self-serving tweet, you should re-tweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.” — Brett Virmalo.

It also helps to explain what value people will get out of checking your website, article, free download, Facebook page and webinar. For example, “For tips on how to get more customers and get help with your business, visit the ProResource Facebook page.”

Paying attention to the content you share in your updates comprises a small part of a successful social networking strategy. Good social networkers also pay attention to:

  • Deciding whom to follow. (They don’t automatically follow back. They seek people who fit their audience.)
  • Listening and responding.
  • Using automation wisely. (There is a difference between having every blog post automatically tweeted and scheduling engaging tweets to spread out updates.)

How do you recognize people who do social networking right? What are your no-nos for social networking?

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