Social Media Rule Number 1: Be a Good Neighbor {Craft Your Blog}


I’ve been thinking about writing about blog promotion, what I do and what I know I ought to do. I considered how best to present that information and thought briefly about doing a post — maybe even multiple posts — about the major social media platforms and how best to use them.

But the truth is, I don’t know all the answers, and I don’t want to pretend that I do. I don’t know the best way to build circles on Google+ or why it matters (well, I actually do know why it matters, a little, bit still), when to post on Twitter for optimal retweets or whether Facebook matters any more.

I’m still learning, and the “right” way to do things changes all the time anyway. But one thing I do know about social media that works across platforms, any time, no matter what you’re trying to promote.

Be a good neighbor.

There’s a lot of things I mean by that; here are five to get you started. good enighbor social

Share Other People’s Stuff

Don’t just promote your own posts and projects. Your feed is more interesting when it includes other people’s voices, and when people see you sharing their stuff they might share yours, too.

Share stuff you like, things you’re interested in, the story that really made you think, something you want to make. Bonus points if you don’t share every BuzzFeed and Upworthy post that everyone else is sharing. Opt for originality.

Start Conversations

A feed that’s nothing but links isn’t very fun or engaging. Ask your followers questions, even if it’s just “what are you working on today?” or “who caught the latest ‘Sherlock’?”

Getting some comments and conversation going will help your page/circle/feed feel more like a community.

Take Part in Conversations

When you see someone else ask a question and you feel like you can contribute, jump in there. If you see a post you love, comment and share.

Don’t post for the sake of hearing your own voice, but do post when you feel compelled or like you have something of value to contribute.

social community
Social community image via MediaBistro.

Be Consistent

The reason I don’t know all the secrets is because I’m pretty inconsistent when it comes to being a good neighbor on social media. Some days I’m chatty and sharing and it takes so much time I feel like it’s not worth it and I stop or focus only on one medium for a while (which is fine, by the way) and then I come back and I feel liek I’m behind.

A little effort every day is better than a huge effort for a few days or weeks that you can’t sustain. If all you can do is share one thing, reply to one comment or ask one question, do that, every day and don’t stress too much about all the things you could be doing.

Don’t Try to Hit Quotas

I’m all the time seeing social media checklists and infographics full of “best practices” that say stuff like

  • follow 3 new people every day
  • reply to 10 conversations
  • share 5 pieces of other people’s content
  • post your own content twice a day

These posts and graphics proclaim this stuff as if the authors know the secret and it will always work the same for anyone who just works the numbers and does their assignment every day.

Well, that’s ridiculous. For one thing, if you’re trying to do all that on three or four networks, you won’t have time to do anything else. For another, if you’re sharing things or replying to conversations just for the sake of hitting a quota, that’s not a good approach.

Social media should be fun and friendly and about relationships, conversations and helping other people, not about the numbers.

Be a good neighbor.

How are you a good neighbor online? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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12 Comments

  1. I totally agree! It’s so important that we encourage fellow bloggers/writers with comments on their blogs and social media posts!

    One thing I’d add is before you share anything, be sure to read it. Sharing for the sake of sharing won’t get you anywhere if your shared content is lame. 🙂

    Also: SHERLOCK!!!

  2. Kim

    Great advice! We each only have 24 hours in a day, and I don’t want to use my time to follow a set prescription of “Follow X New people per day to succeed!” because that doesn’t guarantee anything.

    Being a good neighbor, on the other hand, can guarantee I’ll be remembered. Because who doesn’t like a good neighbor in real life or online?

  3. Thanks for the reminder! We all struggle with time constraints and reading others’ advice about the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” way to success only makes each of us feel inadequate in promoting our blogs! Your “good neighbor” approach really hits home. Thanks again for the thoughtful post!

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