Social Networking for Business: The Karma Effect

Editor’s note: I am now a regular monthly columnist for Out N’ About Magazine, writing on the topic of social networking for business.  The following is excerpted from my May 2012 post.

Image by Martin Canchola

One of the first tips that anyone, with even a small amount of experience in social networking learns, is the karma effect of it. The more you give the more that comes back around to you.  I’ve come to the conclusion that personalities and true colors really shine when people are online.

When I give my social networking for business talks I always compare social media to a cocktail party. Everyone has seen the loud, obnoxious guy who shows up at every after-hours event.  You know the one wearing too much cologne and talks in your face? A thought comes to mind:  Your posts have the same look and feel you do. If you’re loud, obnoxious and pushy….well, enough said. Contrast that with the helpful guy. When you ask a question, need a referral or some other assistance, that guy is always there. We all know folks like this too.

Just last week I was chatting with a friend “IRL” (in real life ) at our church café about that pit we get in our stomach when we allow someone in to be our “friend” on Facebook or other channels only to instantly be asked to take part in their fundraisers, event, survey, etc. Ugh. I’m thinking, “I’ve just been used to get your numbers up!”  To make that old baseball/dating analogy I haven’t walked over to home plate and you’re envisioning a home run!  Hold your horses friend. I’m still on deck!

Is there a lesson to be learned?  When it comes to social networking, please, oh please engage the person and connect with them as a human being. Don’t make them feel used. Be sure to chat with them a bit and show them that you care about them. The business will come later. On Facebook make comments on their photos and videos and show them you are interested in what they have to say. After all, you have cared enough about them to ask them to be your friend, so be one! Be sure to @ reply to people on twitter in order to speak directly to them and to gain their attention. (For more twitter tips including my one-minute twitter tutorial videos, enter search phrase “Twitter 101” at

Last year I had the occasion to create a vlog (video blog) for my friend Maria Peagler of Social Media Online Classes. She asked me to help out her audience comprised of camera-shy small business owners who were mostly women. As a former TV anchorwoman it was easy for me to come up with some simple tips to help folks out on camera now that we live in more of a visual and video oriented society. My topic was: Ten Tips to Feel Comfortable on Camera. Well that video first appeared on her vlog but then “took off” after it was picked up by PR Daily and others.  Later, I entered that video in the Tri-Cities Public Relations Society Awards and it ended up taking top prize in its category. It won an “Award of Excellence” in the Audio Visual category.  Kudos to videographer/producer Kyle Long for his work on the video. We started out trying to provide a helpful service to others who are camera shy and through “social media karma” ended up with an award. Sometimes extending a hand to care about others whether it’s “IRL” or online has its rewards. Ten Tips to Feel Comfortable on Camera may be found at

By the way, I have already created a follow up video on Finding a Job In Public Relations. Stay tuned!


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