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Many of our clients jumping into the social marketing mixer ask us where to draw the line in being too “hard sell” on their social networking sites. I recently found a great post that I believe most people can relate to. In his “Web Ink Now” blog, David Meerman Scott encourages readers to treat social networking sites as if they’re cocktail parties. In other words, to interact with others in the same way you would at a face-to-face industry mixer. To make his point, he asks questions like these:

• Do you go into a large gathering filled with a few acquaintances and tons of people you do not know and shout “BUY MY PRODUCT”?

• Do you go into a cocktail party and ask every single person you meet for a business card before you agree to speak with them?

• Do you listen more than you speak?

We’ve all been cornered at a party to hear about Mary Kay or the sure-fire investment deal and have learned to do the duck and dodge. That approach online is just as likely to make you an unpopular guest or host. So before you say something on Facebook or elsewhere, ask yourself if you’d say it to the person standing next to you. Unless you’re really obnoxious, a “yes” means it’s probably okay.

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