Do you use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter regularly?

If you do, do you use them the right way?

One of the most effective ways I’ve found to connect up with people in the LinkedIn community is through groups. So I’ve made it a point to join quite a few relevant groups that allow me to build relationships with likeminded people. This morning, I entered a new group and found the usual “posts” from people that don’t quite get social media. Post after post looked like this:

  • Do you know someone who will be selling or buying real estate within the next year? Seeking agents for a rare opportunity…
  • Instantly work 15 hours less a week
  • What’s the bare minimum when working social media each week? Don’t miss this opportunity to sign up for training this week…
  • Use mobile devices while traveling? Take our survey and win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Arrrrgggggg. The only thing the titles of these posts say to me is: Get me out of this group!

There was no interaction, no conversation between the members, just post after post from people trying to “sell” me on something that will benefit them.

I don’t want to buy, that’s not why I’m a part of this group. That’s not what social media is all about.

I visit social media sites to learn something new. I use it to build connections. I use it to discover new things.

And every once in a while, I’m intrigued by something someone says. So I follow the links, read some more, and only then do I sign up for something, make a connection, or actually purchase a new product or service.

But it’s on my terms. I decide where my interests lie, what interests me the most, and what I choose to connect with.

And it’s not just on LinkedIn; it’s on every social media site I use.

If you do use social media, think about how you use it. Do you read your newsfeed to learn something new … or to buy something? Do you click on things where people ask you to buy something? And more importantly, have you asked your followers to buy from you?

What should you do instead? Follow the lead from one of my favorite LinkedIn groups, Connect: Professional Women’s Network. The people in this group post multiple topics every day, and most questions receive dozens of answers, comments and responses. Over time, you begin recognizing names, and responding differently because you know who people are. They are “friends”. You’ll find things like this:





See the amount of comments for each post? With the right question, I’ve seen comment numbers go into the hundreds. That’s because its an active group, and people are there to network, not to sell.

The more I connect in groups like this, the more likely I am to click over and read a profile, and have a true interest in what a person does. As I recognize a name again and again, I remember how we met, what they do, and what they have to offer. And when the need arises, I may connect for the sale.

If you aren’t using social media in a friendly way, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach.