Best Practices in Social Media

Mitch Joel, who is infinitely smarter and more saavy then I can ever hope to be, had a great idea. He has challenged like-minded bloggers to put together a best practices guide, of sorts, to social media marketing.

I’ve only dabbled at best in using social media as a marketing tool but Susan over at SuzeMuse had to go and tag me and, well, far be it from me to ignore someone as awesome as she. I’m sure I’m not adding anything particularly new here but I think this is the most important thing to remember.

Listen as much as you talk

Remember folks, this is a conversation. It’s not enough to open comments on your blog and let people blow off steam; if you aren’t responding to comments or engaging your readers somehow, you’re missing the point. If you launch a blog or start a Twitter feed that you treat like a free ad buy, you are going to alienate yourself and, frankly, piss people off.

When someone new follows my twitterstream, the first thing I check is their follower to followee ratio. It’s a good way to find spammers but it’s also a good way to see if the follower is really interested in converstaion or if they see followers/followees as a status symbol. I’d rather follow 50 people and have 40 follow me (which is about where I’m at now, actually) and have good conversations than have 4,000 followers who I never get a chance to talk with.

The second thing I check is ratio of tweets to replies in their stream. If it’s all tweet and no @s, that tells me they aren’t conversing, they are speaking. They might have the most interesting things in the world to say but if they aren’t willing to engage in discussions about them, I am not likely to be interested in following.

It’s horribly cliche to talk about the conversation, I know, but it’s also pretty fundamental. Social media is about building relationships. Don’t be fooled by two-way monologues; conversation is equal parts speaking and listening.

And now for the requisite tags:


  1. many thanks for adding your voice to this project Joe. I know the people you’ve tagged, so I am looking forward to what they have to say.

    Also, anyone can do this – just Blog your best practice and shoot me a link 🙂

  2. I love this idea!!! And an excellent post, Joe – you are awesome too! Thanks for the link love.

    What you say about conversing vs. speaking is so true. And a real indicator of how someone is really participating in the community.


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