As businesses increase their use of social media to attract new customers to their products and services, it seems as though special attention as been given to the Dos and Don’ts of networking online. But the truth is that etiquette is universal. So when it comes to social networking etiquette, the same rules you would use during a face to face encounter should also apply to networking done online.
Whether networking is happening at an event hosted by your local restaurant, or with a group having an event via TweetChat, here are some tips that I would like to offer as a reminder.
Introductions: When joining any online groups or attending networking events, make sure to introduce yourself to the host of the event. It is proper to let the host know that you are appreciative of them taking the time to put this event together. You will put yourself in a higher category than those who just attend and lurk in the corners.

Speak to everyone: I have been to events online and offline where it was obvious that people flocked only to the influencers. While I agree that you should make your presence known to the movers and shakers in the room, it is also good to speak and mingle with the average “Joe/Jane” in the room. I have been in this business long enough to know that you never know who knows whom. But most importantly, it is just common courtesy to speak to everybody.

Share but don’t Sell: We are of course talking about “social” networking. Allow a person to get to know your likes, beliefs, goals, etc. Let them see your personality. Relax. When people can see that they can relate to you, oftentimes it will lead to a conversation about what you do. Be sure to also add value to your networks. Answer questions; leave encouraging comments- anything to build up others is a plus. Be genuine.

Be nice: This may seem like a given, but you would be surprised how many people check their manners at the door, especially online. Remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Watch your email language. Don’t send emails in all caps; it looks like you’re yelling. Cursing is not an option. First impressions are lasting impressions.

Follow up: Be sure to make some kind of contact with the persons you’ve met at the event. Politely remind them how you met, comment on what you enjoyed about the interaction and see how you can be of help to them in the future. Also, if someone has made a comment about a blog, post or tweet you sent out, be sure to acknowledge them. You are letting them know that you are paying attention and you care about what they have to say.

Respect others: The best way to do this is to treat others as you would want to be treated.

Following these simple yet important etiquette tips are sure to lead you on a smooth path to making great social and business connections. Happy networking!

Author's Bio: 

Walethia is the founder of Grace and Charm Success System, which includes over 30 unique training programs designed to improve organizational and personal behavior, business and social graces and effective team building. She is also host of Success with Grace and Charm radio show and has been a guest on over 100 other television and radio programs.

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