The question comes in several guises but is essentially the same one;
Who do we follow (on Twitter)? or Who do we connect with (on Linkedin)? Who do we friend (on Facebook)? << These are in response to requests for follows, Linkedin network requests and Facebook friend requests.
This is a great question, and always creates a great discussion. My answer is always the same – It depends on the objectives you have for being on that particular platform. Everyone will (and should) have their own ‘rules of social media engagement’, depending on their own personal agenda.
It might be purely for work purposes that they are on the social networks, it may just be for pleasure, fun or it more likely is a combination of the two (that’s me!)
So rather than debate the platforms, I want to share with you MY ‘rules of social media engagement’. These are not 100% all the time ( I do need some flex in there!) but I do stick by these most of the time, when I make the decision whether to follow someone on Twitter, connect with them on Linkedin or Friend them on Facebook. Here goes:
Linkedin is for me a 100% business network. Of course I have friends on there, but my objectives are clear. It is for identifying and developing relevant business relationships, learning (via the Linkedin Q &A) and ultimately moving some of these relationships through to consulting opportunities.
So, with that in mind, I am happy to connect with most people , as long as there is some relevance. I get LinkedIn requests every day, and while most are in my sphere of work, I (like all of you I am sure) do get some strange ones! These obviously get declined!
ONE IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER when it comes to Linkedin – DO NOT make any assumptions of the person that is trying to connect with you because you have NO IDEA who THEY are actually connected to! And with LinkedIn, when you have connected with someone, YOU get to see THEIR contacts. For me, it is those contacts that are of real interest indeed!
My Linkedin tip: Define your rules and sectors that you want to expand your network in and don’t make any assumptions on people – you may well be pleasantly surprised!
Twitter is a little different. Why? Anyone can follow you on Twitter. But you don’t have to follow everyone back, of course.
For me Twitter is a mix of work and pleasure. For example, if you follow me, then you will know that at weekends I stop all work associated twittering, and it will be about everything but!! During the week, it is mostly work related, with a smattering of other things including a good dollop of humour! 🙂
So what are my rules of following then?
1. The people have to relevant to my industry in some way – recruitment, HR, social recruiting, social media in recruitment etc. I can see this from their bio, who they are following etc ( And I do check every person that follows me, before I decide to follow back)
2. If they have no bio at all, then I don’t bother following them. If they can’t be bothered to write one and tell me about themselves, then I can’t be bothered to follow them back!!
3. I make sure they are active tweeters. If they have tweeted nothing for several weeks, then, to me, it says that they may not be the people I like to engage with.
4. MY BIG ONE >> @ conversations are key to me – if they don’t engage with people on Twitter (either with @reply conversations or by simple conversing with people), they won’t engage with you! For me Twitter is all about the engagement, so this is my biggy. Simply, if there are no @replies in their tweets stream, I will not follow them.
5. Make sure the follower/following ration is balanced ie NOT 600 following and 45 followers – If they are hugely unbalanced numbers they are likely to be a spammer or a twitter bot! (Exception here are new Twitter users who are just starting – and are still getting their head around it!)
So if you meet those criteria – feel free to follow me!!
My Twitter tip: Again define your own following rules, fill out a full bio and take it steady on the following fron to start with – it is a long term network not a quick numbers competition!
Facebook, is probably the easiest for me. This is not really for work, but for me and my friends. Of course there are work friends in there but, hey that is the reality of life! Friends to me are either people I have met, or people that I have developed a good online relationship with via my blog, Linkedin or Twitter etc. I certainly don’t accept all the friend requests – especially if I don’t know people.
I post links to my blog, but that is pretty much the only work stuff that appears on there – it is mostly about me, my interests, photos, videos etc.
So if we are friends find me on Facebook!
My Facebook tip: Katharine Robinson (aka @thesourceress) has the best definition here for me – she only friends people on Facebook, who she would give a hug to in real life! Superb!
So there you go, there are MY RULES for social media engagement. I hope they help you put some structure into yours.
If you have got ‘defined’ rules then please share them with everyone in the comments, as this is a really interesting (and personal) topic.
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