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Social Media Etiquette 101: The Art of Asking For a Favor on Social Media

May 16, 2014
| Articles


Let’s face it.


If you’re using social media for your business, there will come a time when you’ll need a favor from someone influential in your network. It isn’t a matter of if but a matter of when.


Most of the time, the favor is in the form of a social share. Maybe you’ve written a new report you’d like shared or spread the word about a new product launch. Maybe it’s just an announcement of a new web design.


Whatever the favor, one thing is certain – even a small favor is a big one on social media.


You’re asking someone to interrupt their own marketing activities for you. Not only that, but you’re asking them to endorse you to their followers.


And if you don’t know the person you’re asking extremely well, you’re also shooting yourself in the foot and damaging your reputation.

The Thing about Networking on Social Media


Networking on social media is all about building relationships. Skimp on this and your social media following will never amount to much. (Click here to tweet this)


But even more importantly, maintaining those relationships is what pays when you need to ask for a social share.


Unfortunately, this is where most of us fail miserably.


It’s easy enough to update your own statuses and be regular with them thanks to apps like Buffer, but if you’re not interacting with your network, you aren’t exactly building any relationships.


Don’t be the person who only pops up on someone’s radar when he needs something. You’re not a leech.  You’re a peer and friend. Act like one by respecting the social media etiquette of asking for a social share.


Choose Who You Ask Carefully


Don’t just request a favor from the biggest social media users in your network. Do it from the power users in your niche.


A fiction writer’s followers won’t care about a business course. Nor will a food blogger’s followers care about a new business blog.


Take the time to find social media influencers in your niche and approach the ones you have a relationship with.


Give Them a Reason to Share


People like sharing things they’re connected to. Maybe you’ve mentioned them in a post, highlighted an achievement of theirs, or shared a story about them.


Find an angle that connects them to your favor.


Ask, Don’t Beg.


How you ask for a social share is as important as what you ask for. (Click here to Tweet this)


Don’t come across as desperate. Be calm, composed and professional. Asking for a favor doesn’t mean you gush or beg. That’s just awkward.


Here are a few simple scripts you can use and modify according to your needs:


  • Hey. I just published a post and quoted you. Take a look?
  • Hi there. I think you and your followers might find this interesting. [link]
  • Hey, I just released/published XYZ and think it’ll be of interest to you and your followers. What do you think?


Ask Through a Private Message


When you’re asking for a simple Retweet, it’s okay to do so publicly. But for anything more, always approach a person through a Direct Message (DM).


Every social sharing favor is different. Use your discretion. Personally, if I’m asking someone specific for a Tweet, Retweet or a share on any other social network, I always do it in a private message.


Why? Because you can send more than one message without becoming annoying.


Use the first message to ask for the favor and the second one to let them know they have the option of saying no and that there won’t be any hard feelings. Thank them for their time and offer your help for any future projects they may have – even if they don’t grant you the favor.


A simple “I know how busy you are, so it’s perfectly okay if you can’t. No hard feelings =) Let me know if I can help with anything. Cheers.” works well.


Give More Than You Receive


Whether you’re asking for a simple Retweet or an endorsement, make it a point to give more than you receive – and to always give first. (Click here to Tweet this)


People are going to be more receptive if they see you promoting their stuff first, especially if you’re doing it without their asking.


Post-Favor Etiquette


One of the biggest mistakes you can make after asking for a social share is disappearing off the radar after the favor has been granted.


That’s the social media equivalent of “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.”


And you really don’t want to be known as that guy.


Once the social share has been done, thank them and go about your way doing the same things you did to build a relationship with the person in the first place.


Asking for a favor on social media is a long term strategy. You don’t know when you might need a favor but you do know you’ll need one at some point. So instead of networking properly only when you need something, make it part of your daily social media activities.


And when you’ll finally need that favor, you won’t need to jump through as many hoops.

By Samar Owais
Categories: Articles
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