10 rules of social marketing etiquette.

1. “Be aware. Know each social media community’s law of the land.” I was just taking a look at the new Google+–invitations are no longer necessary to join—and it’s probably a good idea to read through everything before joining. Hangouts? Circles? Hmmm.

2. “Be active. Don’t just go in a few times and hit [subscribers] with your marketing message. Get involved. Participate in discussions.” Finding time is always what makes this tough. But try to set a certain time of the day to spend on this and stick to that.

3. “Be relevant. Make sure you’re posting in areas of the site that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing.”

4. “Be genuine. Let the conversation flow organically.” Ask a question or two to get things going.

5. “Be useful. As a member, your goal is to participate in intelligent, useful discussions.” It’s best any time you can relate a personal story. For instance, I went to a baseball game a few nights ago and a fan caught a ball and gave it to a little girl sitting behind him. I said to my friend that we would be seeing that on Yahoo the next day. Sure enough there it was. I find it interesting that we know what makes headlines these days. It’s just a matter of finding that “content” or catching a ball.

6. “Be subtle. Don’t overlink. Many marketers embed their entire message with URLs to whatever page they’re trying to drive traffic to. Less is more here.” I would like to publicize Wendy’s book again, but too many mentions would seem like overkill.

7. “Be balanced. Mix up your messages. Don’t just go into a site and start spamming away with your marketing messages. Go in. Hang out for a few weeks. Get to really know the members and the site. See which areas of the site have topics and discussions that vibe with you.” It’s the same as the old days when you actually attended physical meetings with a group. (What a concept!) It took a while to get to know people’s personalities and to see the best role you could play.

8. “Be informative. Don’t limit your article uploads or links to your own publication. Be aware of what’s happening in your area of interest. Be able to have intelligent discussions about different news, events and publications under your subject matter.” SIPA has members such as Guy Cecala and Bob Coleman who often appear on news shows to discuss their fields. This can really pay dividends as people get to see you in such informative settings. It can start with you displaying your knowledge on a social site.

9. “Be personable. Develop relationships with the community on a ‘friend’ and an expert level for your area of specialty. Let your personality shine through with the information you share. Offer free expert advice. Share funny stories.”

10. “Be respectful. Don’t spam your fellow members…Remember, just because an email is posted on a user’s profile page doesn’t mean that person opted in to receive solicitations, promotions or similar email communications.”