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WTF is Social Networking (Part 3)

August 26, 2010

"Me, me, me, want, want, want."In the first part of this trilogy, we looked at what social networking is (WTF is Social Networking? Part 1), in yesterday’s article we covered what Social Networking ain’t (WTF is Social Networking? Part 2), today we look at the do’s, the don’ts and the super powerful and essential C-word(s).

Do you have some of your own do’s, don’ts or C-words to add?  (G-rated C-Words only please!)  Leave them below as a comment.


  • Do offer people relevant, personalized, helpful information.
  • Do ask an original, interesting, well-researched question.
  • Do consistently share valuable information and content with your community.
  • Do send well wishes on birthdays, anniversaries and to congratulate achievements.
  • Do put your ‘chosen people’ at the top of your recommendation list when relevant opportunities arise, online and real-world.
  • Do connect with people on more than one social platform, for example Facebook and Twitter, or Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Do read blogs; do make intelligent, original comments that add value and make you stand out for all the right reasons. (Hint: like this blog!)
  • Do use referrals as they work online too.  When you’re inviting a person to friend you on FaceBook, use the ‘add a message’ function to mention that you know a mutual friend.
  • Do give referrals to others, but only if you can be honest and complimentary about them.
  • Do keep a record of who you reach out to, when you attempt contact and the avenue through which you connect and what you say. This will help you avoid ‘stalking’.
  • Do start with a clean house – if you have publicly viewable personal sites that have photos, video or even comments that you wouldn’t show your Mom – delete them or change your privacy settings, and create a new, separate professional page. (Yes, people will check out your Facebook wall before hiring you!)
  • Do keep control of your brand, if high school friends are uploading photos of you when you were 5 years old and running through the sprinklers naked – kindly ask them to remove them! Simply explain you use your social media profiles personally and for business, and you’re trying to maintain an image that fits both.
  • Do always be authentic and true to you and your brand!


  • Don’t confine all your communications to be industry specific. Multi-dimensional people are so much more interesting!
  • Don’t talk only about yourself! (yawn)
  • Don’t be non-specific or general in your communication, instead be personal. If you don’t have time to do a bit of research, you don’t have time to post/blog, email or tweet.
  • Don’t be a walking, talking, typing press release – no one wants a hard sell.
  • Don’t comment just to comment.  Unless you have something valuable to add to the dialogue, stay out. (In this instance, smiley faces are not considered valuable.)
  • Don’t be a smarty-pants.  If you know a posting contains incorrect information, state your opinion in a passive, conversational manner.
  • Don’t be tardy – respond to people’s comments, questions and Direct Messages promptly.
  • Don’t stalk somebody. If your initial outreach didn’t get a prompt response, then wait at least a week before trying a different avenue.  Lots of little, varied and spaced-out attempts at communication are better than a long, intense onslaught!
  • Don’t be impatient, you must earn trust and respect within your online community.
  • Don’t ignore negative comments or responses.  Lead by example and respond in a mature, respectful tone.  If this person becomes a regular idiot – by all means disengage and block them.

It’s not enough to have 2000 Facebook ‘friends’, successful networking is authentic connections with people you admire and respect.

The C Word(s) of Social Networking:

The following words summarize how to successfully network online:

1. Connect:

Find ‘your people’, find communities of like-minded people who share your values and interests.  These should be people you truthfully like or respect.  Remember, you’re not looking for numbers, you’re looking for real relationships.  You can find them on forums or sites, or chartrooms. Look for them offline as well as on. Volunteer as a reader for a Casting Director or at an agency. Volunteer yourself as a runner on a set. Frequent theater productions and industry events. Consider who you know already and who they might know. Don’t be shy to ask for introductions, but remember that healthy relationships benefit both parties.  What can you offer?

2. Cultivate:

Follow up your initial interaction. If you met someone in person, take a business card and find he/she online. If you’ve befriended someone online, support his or her endeavors in the real world. If a person asks for help or advice, give it, and try to do so promptly. Become the go-to person and an expert in an element of your industry. Develop a reputation for being helpful and committed. Offer congratulations on other’s success’ and also condolences when their luck is low. Be generous and give whenever possible.

3. Consistency:

More important than the amount of time your spend seeking and nurturing your relationships, is the consistency. I am referring to the consistency of your online brand (always be authentic!), and the frequency and consistency of the quality of your outreach efforts. People will begin to develop trust in you and your business; you’ll earn integrity and become known as reliable and professional.

Tomorrow we’ll look at online etiquette, and I don’t mean keeping your elbows off you desk! Until then – keep sharing!

“Our best thoughts come from others.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist, 1803-1882)

Image by
Mas-Luka via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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