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SBF: 10 Ways To Improve Your Social Media Karma

NOTE: This post was originally published on the AMEX Open Forum website, where I write a weekly piece on marketing advice for small business owners.

Whether you believe in karma or not, using social media successfully for your small business often has a lot to do with a series of seemingly disconnected events.  Every comment you post online, every person you contact and every piece of content you upload adds to the sum total of your efforts in the blogosphere.  Building relationships is important in any industry, but social media karma is the idea that what you do and how you behave will ultimately have an effect on you directly or indirectly. 

Social media karma is not often written about, but very often spoken about by bloggers, especially successful ones.  Here are 10 ways you can improve your social media karma:  

  1. Be real.  This is the first and foremost principle of furthering your social media karma that I could think of.  Being real involves not lying, being transparent about who you are and what you believe, and sharing an honest voice.  People trust others that have an authentic voice, and are more likely to refer them to others or help when asked. 
  2. Respond to emails. This is tough when you have a high volume of unsolicited emails, but the idea that someone took time to write directly to you should make it enough of a priority to respond.  Obviously, this applies to personally written messages, and not to email blasts of press releases.  Those are rarely worth a response.
  3. Offer exclusives.  Maybe you aren't breaking "news" online, but the idea of exclusives is not limited to that.  If you are going to write about or post something interesting, whether related to your business or not, offer a preview to others in your network.  Share ideas as they happen and offer the chance for others to say it first.  Exclusives are gold in the blogosphere … everyone wants them.
  4. Make connections. In social settings, the gold standard for making connections is introducing two people to one another who later get married.  Social media is no different.  If you can be the person making these connections between individuals that may not have met otherwise, you will be remembered by both for your efforts.
  5. Join networks.  This is not just about publishing networks, but about social networks of people who are interested in the same things you are.  Joining groups like this, and actively participating adds value to the group.  As a member, it probably won't be long before you take something useful from the group – and hopefully add something useful as well.
  6. Avoid snark. Snarkiness is the enemy of good karma.  Being rude, uselessly opinionated or arrogant are all rising behaviours from people in social media that add to the sea of needless commentary online.  The price for this may not be apparent, as unfortunately, snarkiness does sometimes result in conversation sometimes (who can't avoid watching a car crash?) — but eventually the snark will catch up to you.
  7. Forgive mistakes. Most bloggers or others in social media are not journalists and don't have the time or necessity for checking every fact or argument before making it.  This does result in mistakes, and people do screw up.  Correcting them without holding a grudge is a big deal.  Mistakes are made, people are sorry.  If they fixed the error, then get over it.
  8. Post to contact. Email is not the only way to get in touch with someone.  Posting about something they have written and linking to their blog offers an indirect route to contact, as most bloggers pay attention to who is linking to them.  Writing about one of my posts is still the best way to get onto my radar, and I suspect most bloggers are the same way.  Communicating in this way avoids the email filter and starts the dialogue.
  9. Comment and participate.  This may be part of earlier suggestions, however the idea that you need to be a participant online rather than just an observer is key to this belief.  If you expect others to communicate and add comments to your blog, you need to be online doing the same for others.  Without participation, it is difficult to belong to a community online or build relationships with others.
  10. Show gratitude. Often mentioned as an important factor in connecting with users, showing gratitude for someone interacting with some content you have posted or a comment you have shared, linking to you, or offering some other effort on your behalf is vital.  Appreciation makes someone more likely to believe that you think their efforts are significant and as a result, connect more strongly with you and your blog.

NOTE: This post is part of Small Business Friday (SBF) – a weekly feature to share marketing ideas for small businesses and was originally published on the Amex Open Forum site.

Posted via email from rohitbhargava's posterous

7 thoughts on “SBF: 10 Ways To Improve Your Social Media Karma”

  1. As a relative newby to the world of Social Media, I tend to find all of the words of wisdom out there overwhelming. Your ten tips, however, make a lot of sense. And I’m happy to see I already follow some of them. Several are useful just for making and keeping business relationships (like watching the snarkiness level, something I definitely have to work on).

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially liked what you had to say on snarkiness. It’s easy to be snarky sometimes, but especially important for small businesses to delineate between their professional and personal personas, and keep things professional when networking for their business. I have different twitter accounts, for my personal connections and my professional connnections. I originally used my personal account for everything, but have transitioned to using different accounts for professional networking and communication.

    Reply
  3. One issue we face is teaching our staff to become engaging. They are accustomed to writing definitive, well researched and defined response to technical questions, RFPs or similar items. This authoritative voice can sometimes be mis-perceived as arrogance.

    What’s I’ve personally tried and found that it works is to hold back on some items. Say you have 3 points on an issue, lay out two and ask a question about the third.

    I find that this can get a conversation started. By curious to see what other tips people have to move from authoritative type of writing/voice to one more conversational tone?

    Reply
  4. @Nancy – Thanks, I often focus on the snarky point as well, since being rude is sometime so much easier than being constructive … especially online.

    @Sean – Good point on separating your personal and public profiles. That can be a great way to keep your different voices and points of view separate … something that is increasingly tough.

    @Jeff – That’s an interesting method on holding back on some of your points to combat this perception. One thing that has often worked for me and that I counsel others to do frequently is to take something they write and read it out loud. By doing so, you can often spot the fake or inauthentic parts and change the language accordingly. It is very easy to write in a fake and scripted voice, but VERY hard to speak in one (unless you happen to have legal training). 😉

    Reply
  5. I especially love Point #10 Showing gratitude! It good to pat someone on the back for their hard work and dedication. It can just be shout-outs or referrals!

    Reply
  6. Interesting approach Rohit, thanks for sharing it!

    Social media marketing or should I say, social media engagement is the key to perform better businesses and make yourself an authority in your business area. I liked point 7 since I think perfectionsm is preventing too many potential entrepreneurs from making their best effort as they go and instead of that, they just wait for the ideal moment. There is not such a thing, right?

    I recommend new entrepreneurs and startups to join the Startups.com Q&A. I´ve found pretty valuable advices and conversations to join and improve my social media work!

    Reply

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A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

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