How to be effective (and behave) on social networks.
What works on social networks?
What makes some people more interesting on social networks? What makes us engage, interact, and share (or click!)?
First, be yourself. If you use social networking for both business and personal interactions, keep them separate. Be sure you setup a business page rather than a personal page for your company (or side business) if your chosen platform is Facebook. Use the link BELOW the sign up button that says "Create a page" for a celebrity, band or business. Use this link for creating a business page, fan page, etc. Anything that's not truly a single person would fall into this category.
Secondly - social networks are about socializing. If every single post you make on your business page is about you, eventually your audience will get bored and check out. Post things that are useful to your followers, share links, content, video, and anything else relevant. That's also not to say that your company page can't have a sense of humor - though keep your audience in mind. While some forms of humor may be appropriate, some may not. If you're smart enough to be reading a hub page, I would guess you are also smart enough to discern between the two. If you wouldn't say it to your grandmother, don't say it on Twitter!
Third, and a slight expansion of what I just said above - social networks are for social interactions. Nobody wants to be shouted at through a bullhorn. The beauty of new media is that it's a two-way communication. This is not the 50's. We both send and receive information, most of us on a daily, almost constant basis. Your followers want to interact or they wouldn't have added you. Learn the ins and outs of your chosen social platform - that's not to say become an expert, but see what other people are doing, ask questions if you need to. Then learn by doing.
To share or not to share? I heard a quote once that "I once wondered what it would be like to read minds, then I joined Facebook. I'm over it." Sound familiar? Some things are appropriate on facebook and some are not. Again, there's no controlling what people post. Ah, the joys of free will. Some things are best saved for a private one-on-one message with a friend, or perhaps a conversation, or a lunch. It's a social network, not a private blog, not your diary, not your therapy session. Avoid "TMI" and remember the adage, "Say it=forget it, write it=regret it." If you wouldn't want to see it in the newspaper (or a court document) don't post it on your social network!
Promote! Everybody loves a freebie or a discount. Give specials to your social network followers that are exclusive to them. You can do this via a status message, with facebook advertising, twitter promoted tweets, etc. But, with that said... if you advertise on social networks read the help and how-to pages. Contextual advertising is powerful when done right. Empower yourself by learning before doing. Sources like Mashable are a great place to start.
If you do advertise keep one thing in mind: when a user is on a social network they are in a social mindset. Some things work well in this setting and some do not. For example let's say I have a gigantic hairy mole on my nose that I need to have removed. I highly doubt I'd like your page called "Gigantic Hairy Mole Removal" - you laugh, but really - is your product something people shop for in private? Or is it like that shiny new Coach purse that every girl would want to announce on her facebook page?
There is an egotistical aspect of our interactions on social networks. It could be said that we like our likes, we love our retweets, our Klout scores, and repins - oh and let's not forget our +1s (lol).
Lastly, use your network on a regular basis. That's not to say become an addict, but by interacting regularly those who do choose to network with you will stay engaged. Now, go forth and conquer, or update your status, or tweet, or pin, (OR HUB!) or whatever your favorite network is!