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Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some key things to look out for, and some pitfalls to avoid, when joining the world of social media.

Social-media networking is a valuable marketing and communications business tool.

LinkedIn is my social network of choice, because it has a large critical mass of members and variety of groups related to meetings and live events. Many of my colleagues are members of the groups I joined and LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to learn from them, while keeping in touch.

Anyone can create and post a group to LinkedIn, regardless of their industry expertise.

Many group managers, though, set boundaries that pre-empt members from being deluged with product or service promotions.

And often, those rules are not mentioned in the group overview.

This is important to know, because if you do not follow the rules, you risk having your post removed (a manager can remove any post arbitrarily).

Even if a post includes seemingly benign information, such as your company tag line, if the manager perceives this as self-promotion, your discussion could be removed.

When this occurs, LinkedIn posts a visible auto-comment beside your profile stating that your discussion “was removed.” The group manager cannot rescind this auto-comment.

This happened to me – I contacted the group manager and he agreed that he’d acted hastily, but the damage was done and I was a pariah, for all to see.

Lesson learned. I no longer post or answer spontaneously.

Before joining, check out the group and ensure that you’re comfortable with the manager’s moderating methods, guidelines or rules.

Another benefit is the access you have to a tremendous brain trust.

You can glean an incredible amount of business intelligence just from reading the comments, without participating in the discussion.

This led me to join groups geared to professionals working in the industries represented in my conferences and expos.

One time, I posted a question about conference registration. My specific interest was to find out what criterion they had to put forward in order to obtain registration funds.

My question sparked some heated discussion. Best of all, I gained intelligence as if I’d staged a focus group.

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