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Many people get confused and behave differently in the social space than they would at a “club” or association meeting or cocktail hour. Whenever I train executives on social media and social selling I try to make them realize that it’s not that much difference than an in-person event or discussion.

You wouldn’t come walking into an association meeting and start yelling across the room about an event your company is having, so don’t do it in the online community. Make sure it’s relevant and that the online group will be interested before you blaze in.

You wouldn’t just talk about yourself (although I do see this happen in many cocktail parties), so make it less about you and more about the listener, or in this case the reader.

You wouldn’t start handing out sales literature so don’t pass it to me online without having a better knowledge of my interest; and by all mean, just because we chat a little over cocktails, don’t call me the next day and assume that I want to be sold.

Online interactions are much the same as any in-person interaction. If you would be embarrassed doing X in-person don’t do it online. Show me that you are trying to help me and get to know what I am truly interested in, not what you want to sell me, then reach out.

You can ask a group question, offer some educational content to the group online, etc. But don’t assume I am ready to be sold because I accept it. I wouldn’t be ready to hear a pitch from a few minutes at an association meeting and I won’t be after accepting your thought leadership.

Just keep listening (read) and the relevant moment and time will show itself.

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