What’s in it for me? Etiquette and marketing savvy provide the answer

"Look at me!  Look at me!" - clip art courtesy of discoveryschool.com

"Look at me! Look at me!" - clip art courtesy of discoveryschool.com

In a discussion about what is an appropriate or inappropriate post on a networking site, someone posed this question: Is there a source somewhere that lists social networking etiquette?

We all have “friends,” don’t we, who are like the kid at the back of the classroom, raising her hand, waving it furiously. “I have something to say,” she says, all smiles. “And it’s all about ME.”

On Twitter, LinkedIn and similar sites, multiply that overly eager kid by ten thousand. “Buy my book!” “Hire me as your consultant!” “Buy my shoes!” “Buy my service!” “Look! Look! Look!”

They’re even in our writer’s groups. (Note: If you recently announced your latest book release, I’m not talking about you. I’m discussing those people who keep their hands up ALL THE TIME and don’t ever get off the topic of themselves.)

Social media marketing (SMM) is different from traditional advertising, but some of the same rules apply. Be it reading an ad, watching a commercial, or listening to a pitch on the radio, or reading blogs or Tweets or profiles, we’re still people, and we still ask ourselves that age-old question,”What’s in it for me?”

People need to be engaged, that’s the hot social marketing term. Grandma’s engaged when she signs onto Facebook and sees updated photos of her grandchildren and what they’re up to. But once we get past our immediate circle of family and friends, there needs to be more effort than simply, “I’m here. Look at me!”

“What’s in it for me?” It’s not that we’re mean-spirited or terribly selfish, but our hours are finite, and we can’t endlessly pay attention, just because. We have problems to solve. New ideas and information to learn. We’re searching for ways to thrive, ways to cope, ways to be entertained, educated, enlightened, inspired, helped.

When using Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites in your social media marketing efforts, it’s vital that you engage the people there. If your messages consist of “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!” (in whatever form you’d imagine – look at my resume services, my shoes, my books, my blogs), your efforts will be transparent and ineffective. It’s all about engaging us. This is accomplished by offering useful information, earning the right to be looked upon as an expert in your field, or simply helping or entertaining people.

So until an SMM etiquette book is published, remember that age-old adage that all good advertising copywriters keep in mind: “What’s in it for those who read this?” Know the answer to that question, and your tweets, blogs and profiles will gain the attention they deserve.

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Filed under Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life

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