LinkedIn is for business. I liken it to a cocktail party without the booze. It’s business. There’s no place for petty and demeaning comments. If all the discussions you start are about you or your company, please stop doing so! It’s a place to share ideas, gather information and query your peers and colleagues on business-based topics.
I’ve also seen some companies that post the same “white papers,” which are very thinly designed advertisements to every single group they belong to, whether it’s relevant or not. If that’s your company’s social media policy, understand that 1) no one is going to continue to read your “white papers” after being led down that garden path the first (and only) time and 2) group administrators and moderators will delete your content the moment it’s posted. Trust me: I moderate for two groups and don't even bother reading postings from some people and companies before deleting them.
If your company produces a real white paper and wants to publicize it, go for it. Be creative and show your knowledge, but don’t tell people about the knowledge you have. Be authentic. Don’t be a slimy used car salesperson.
Another “no-no” is hijacking a discussion by either bringing in a topic that’s entirely irrelevant to the current conversation, or personally insulting or belittling others that you disagree with. It makes one look like a small-minded, mean person who no one would want to do business with. It only turns people off to whatever you have to say and, by association, the company you work for. It’s fine to disagree, just do so respectfully.
Twitter conversations (feeds) use the “#” sign followed by the name of a show or topic. During this week’s Exhibitor Show, most exhibitors only tweeted “come by our booth for some giveaway.” Why not give some practical advice—such as “leave your room early as it takes 15 minutes minimum to walk to the convention center” or “hit this place up for coffee, no lines instead of where everyone else goes” or “did you know that,” then add some practical advise based upon what your company does? If you are a speaker, tease or post tips to promote your session.
Remember that on twitter it’s fine to self-advertise once—twice max—every nine tweets. Value (along with humor) is key. Yes, I’ve been guilty of this as well—especially when it comes to promoting my blog—no one’s perfect!
Your audience on social media is much larger than those who actively contribute to a LinkedIn discussion or twitter feed. Follow the rules and it will enhance the experience and your reach. Don’t and it could affect your business and career.
Note: Special thanks to Traci Browne for her contribution of ideas to this blog.
Stephanie S. Selesnick is president of International Trade Information, a longtime global exhibition industry specialist helping U.S show organizers increase international participation in their exhibitions and a well-known speaker and trainer. Follow her on Twitter at @stephselesnick.