social media etiquette give before you ask

Walking downtown Boulder, Colorado last week, I encountered many people panhandling, or asking for money. Some had signs telling people passing by about their situation, and some just sat with a cup. But when I passed by the water fountain, I was entranced! A man was busy creating art out of pieces of flowers and plants he had picked and sticking them to the water fountain. He had a Cheez-It's box for people to leave him a token of what they thought this entertainment was worth. Well, this was worth money! He was entertaining and industrious.

I get requests from people all the time asking if I can help them spread the word for an upcoming event, tweet about a blog they just posted or plug a product that they have developed or represent.  I love spreading the word on a great conference or an event that has big learning opportunities and if I love a product, book, blog or geeky gadget, you can be sure I will be tweeting, chatting and spreading the word, especially if I think it will be helpful or interesting to the folks I'm connected with. I also love helping out people I have built relationships with on social media, people who have helped me or provided great value in the content they share. Of course I want to spread that kind of love around. But when you ask for a handout the moment we connect, you might be met with a little less enthusiasm. In any relationship, it's give and take…the first part of that is GIVE. Don't ask for favors on an empty bank account.

I got a message through Twitter the other day that read “Just mentioned you in my blog. Can you RT?” and then it had the link to the blog post.  This came from a woman who had attended a conference that I spoke at the day before.  I was flattered and clicked on the link ready to have my ego stroked as I was sure that I was about to read something like “Gina Schreck was fabulous. You should follow her on Twitter @GinaSchreck and become a fan of her LIVE Facebook shows or better yet you all should hire her to speak at your next conference or manage your social media presence or just send her money…she's that good!”

Okay, so perhaps my thoughts were a bit grandiose and slightly delusional, but they soon turned to disappointment when I read, “Heard a great social media speaker today who said to….”  WHAT? She never mentioned my name, pointed people to my Twitter page or even put a link to my website!  And she wanted ME to retweet HER?  I was more than bent out of shape.  As a matter of fact, I started writing this post right after but had to wait a week and edit all the anger out…it was 6 pages before!  But seriously, I realized that she probably just didn't know how to cross-pollinate with links or really get people to “help a sister out!”

When you are talking about someone on Twitter, be sure to check and see if they have an account so you can use their Twitter-handle (ie- @GinaSchreck will link directly to my Twitter page, but “Gina Schreck” will not), and if you are wanting to share something that was tweeted by someone, be sure to use the retweet feature, which is basically forwarding the tweet and keeping the person's twitter-handle attached in the front just preceded by RT (ie- RT @GinaSchreck blah blah blah) to again give credit where credit is due.

If you are writing about someone on Facebook or on your blog, link to that person's site for that extra boost.  This is not just a good ego-stroke for that person, it is a Google boost for your post.  First, that person is more likely to send some traffic your way if you have done the same for them (hint hint) and second, you are sending and receiving links from other sites and that helps your ranking with Goggle and other search engines.

So if you see me on the corner holding out a cup, begging, it will not be for a dime, but just for a retweet or mention in that next blog post!

And if you are new to social media and want to learn more etiquette and business-building tips, join our  DIY.social Facebook group or our DIY.social coaching program. We will gladly show you the way!

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