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Online Networking Etiquette

March 7, 2016

It seems like every year about this time I get flooded with requests to connect on all of the social networking sites of which I have a page. Inevitably the first thing I receive in my inbox after accepting a request is either a 5+ paragraph spew of vomit about this person’s current or upcoming projects, or I get an invite to join this “great work-from-home opportunity.” THIS IS A SURE FIRE WAY TO CHASE AWAY ANY PERSPECTIVE RELATIONSHIP! DON’T DO IT!

Building an online relationship isn’t any different than building one in real life. I can guarantee you if you walk up to a woman and start frothing at the mouth telling her about all of your conquests and how satisfied they all were, that she will turn on her heels and sprint to the nearest exit. That’s exactly what you do when you fire off those emails to someone you’ve just connected with. You wouldn’t pull down your pants and present your goods to someone you just met in real life so don’t do it on the networking sites either. Build up to that. Let them naturally gain interest in you. Let them ask to see your goods.

Once you’ve connected with someone that you think might be potentially helpful to your career, DO NOT send them anything to their inbox unless it’s a simple, “Thank you for connecting with me. I look forward to reading your post/tweets/blogs/etc. Then leave it at that. If you read something that they’ve posted that strikes a cord with you, feel free to respond, but keep it short and sweet. Don’t be a stalker! Try to keep it to 140 characters.

If you want to connect on a professional level, take your time, build a relationship. If you go spewing spam the moment you connect, you will ruin any chance of making a connection. If all you’re looking for are clients, then by all means… it’s a numbers game, fire away. But you’ll be alienating yourself for future connections by doing so. If your new connection didn’t ask about what you’re working on or didn’t ask for a link to your latest project, then don’t send it. They don’t want to see it. I don’t want to see it.

Another note, don’t make it all about you. Again, they don’t want to hear it unless they ask. Engage them in conversations about themselves. People love to talk about themselves, especially “important” people. Don’t bombard them with questions. Wait until they write something that catches your interest. Fire off a short and simple question that relates to them. If they keep the conversation going, good, but you don’t want to be the one hanging on. If they respond with one or two words, let it go. And don’t forget to be friendly. Until next week, keep writing!

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One Comment
  1. Maximum Z permalink

    Well said! I love networking and connecting with people, and always ask about their latest project(s). If they ask me in return, I give a brief answer. Sometimes they don’t respond at all, and sometimes I get a generic “Thanks! Check out my _____” or “Please go to my crowdfunding page!”

    I guess they don’t fully comprehend the “social” part of “social media”.

    Like

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