I came across an excellent post yesterday by Allen Harkleroad, a small business owner I have met over at the social news site Mixx, where he outlines some of the lessons he has learned playing and marketing on social networking sites. It is common sense for most that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about interacting on social media/networking sites. Allen compiles the lessons he has learned in a most excellent read.

While I highly recommend you read his entire article, I thought I’d highlight some of the do’s and don’t here.

Social Media Marketing Don’ts

  • Don’t jump in with both feet and begin posting content. Take time to familiarize yourself with the site and its community, vote and comment of items you find interesting, and add friends as you find others that post interesting content.
  • Don’t have a “self promotion” agenda. In other words, if your only reason for being there is to promote yourself, you will not be successful.
  • Don’t submit press releases. You’ll get very few if any votes and little to no traffic from them.
  • Don’t submit client project news items. Only you and your client care about the projects. Nobody else does.
  • Don’t “check your brain at the door” before submitting content. In other words, think it out. Will others find what you are submitting interesting? If not, then submitting it to a social news site is not going to be effective.
  • Don’t submit affiliate program based websites, spam blogs (Splogs), other types of schemes, pirated software sites (warez), etc. It won’t take long till submissions are buried or removed. Often times these types of submissions will get you banned.
  • Don’t submit Squidoo lenses. Enough said.
  • Don’t be greedy with your votes and comments. If you see or read something interesting, give it a vote up and comment if you have something to say. This can go a long way in establishing credibility on social sites.
  • Don’t submit items and run (drive by submission). Rather, spend some time on the social sites you are submitting to. The more active you are, the more votes and comments you will receive.
  • Don’t just vote on items submitted by your mutual friends. Look around and vote on new items or other items that might interest you. Only voting on friends stuff is a pattern that can easily be detected.
  • Don’t share or send shouts for every item you submit. Keep it to a minimum such as once a day or even less. Save the sharing for really good content or important items.

Social Media Marketing Do’s

  • Do submit original or very interesting content.
  • Do be friendly and cordial with other members. Remember – it is a “social” site.
  • Do participate (a lot). With social websites, you get of it exactly what you put into it. If you spend some time and get to know your social friends the votes will come.
  • Do be positive. If you can’t say something nice, then don’t comment and/or don’t vote on the item.
  • Do add friends to your profile. Find those with similar interests and follow them, vote and comment on their submissions. You will find that your own submissions will get a lot more votes.
  • Do vote and comment more than you submit, no one really likes a hyperactive random submitter and/or drive by submitter.
  • Do explore the whole site – get out of your comfort zone and look at new things. Discover other areas besides the popular items as there is a lot to see and experience.
  • Do try to be open-minded of other’s criticism when they comment on your items. It is better to say nothing and just go on your merry way than it is to start a fight. Put yourself in the commenter’s “shoes.” They may be having a bad day or they might just be an honest to goodness jerk.

That is some great advice. Allen reminds us that like anything, we are going to get exactly what we put into a social network site. The more time and effort we put in, the more we will get out of it.

How about you the reader? Care to share any successes or failures in your attempt to market or participate in social media/networking sites?

David Wallace

David Wallace

David Wallace, co-founder and CEO of SearchRank, is a recognized expert in the industry of search and social media marketing. Since 1997, David has been involved in developing successful search engine and social media marketing campaigns for large and small businesses.

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