Do you ever wonder how to use social media for relationship marketing? Look no further. In this article you’ll learn the 7 rules of building relationships through social media to boost your business.

#1 Never send automated direct messages to new Twitter followers

Twitter works like a News channel. People use it to check what is trending and what not. But, on top of that it’s also a social channel, although a bit less personal than Facebook. Now, there’s a right way and a wrong way to connect with your followers. Here’s the wrong way: sending someone who starts to follow you an automated direct message (DM) that pitches your stuff.

Rule of engagement number 1: “never send automated direct messages to new Twitter followers.”

#2 Limit your number of updates, especially on LinkedIn

Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn each have their own ideal frequency for sharing updates. Twitter and Facebook allow you to get away with a few tweets or status updates a day. With LinkedIn it’s different, IMO. LinkedIn attracts business professionals who are looking for people to hire, jobs or new business opportunities. If you’re looking for social conversations on LinkedIn, you’d better join a LinkedIn group.

Here’s a simple guideline I borrowed from Neal Schaffer – the author of “Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing“: “If the information you provide is relevant to your target audience, then it makes sense to post it.”

Your LinkedIn connections can hide your LinkedIn status updates if you’re publishing too frequently, boring or even spammy stuff! If that happens, your updates are invisible, no matter how often you update. So, use your status updates on LinkedIn wisely.

Rule of engagement number 2: “use LinkedIn status updates once per day to stay top-of-mind and maximize it to 3 updates per day.”

#3 Do Mari Smith’s Longevity test before you publish online

Mari Smith – passionate social media leader and author of “the new relationship marketing”- shares some valuable advice in her new book. Mari talks about 3 questions you need to ask yourself, before you publish or post anything online:

  1. How do you feel about the message, you’re about to publish online, this time next year?
  2. Does it add value to others or is it all about you?
  3. Does it lift others up or is it about lifting yourself up?

Rule of engagement number 3: “do Mari Smith’s Longevity test before you publish online”

#4 Don’t start relationships with self-promotion

Social media have not changed the rules of relationship marketing.

When you connect with someone, send him or her a personal message. Thank them for connecting with you, ask if you can be of any help and maybe share something about yourself that can help them right away.

To quote Neal Schaffer: “it’s the exact thing as in a business meeting. It’s really about first asking and getting to know them, before you do your own sort of pitch”

Rule of engagement number 4: “don’t start new relationships online with self-promotion”

#5 Vary the type of content you share online

If you use social media the right way, it can be quite entertaining. Don’t bore the people you connect with online. Vary your content. Use photos, videos, links to articles and audio. Here are 3 great sources to find interesting stuff (thanks to Guy Kawasaki for sharing):

  1. smartbrief
  2. alltop
  3. stumbleupon

Rule of engagement number 5: “vary the type of content you share online”

#6 Let your social profiles shine and keep them up to date

Do your social profiles make a lasting positive impression? It not, here’s what to do! Make sure your profiles are up to date, exciting and to the point. Use recent profile photos. Make sure you smile!

Your key for personal branding is your Twitter bio, LinkedIn headline, Facebook profile (timeline) or Google+ introduction. Use the right keywords in your social profiles that represent the core (values) of who you are. Check your profiles each month to keep them up to date.

Rule of engagement number 6: “let your social profiles shine and keep them up to date”

#7  Start listening first

Social media monitoring tools show you what others are sharing about you. Listen carefully and keep listening each day. If you connect with others, start listening first. The best way to listen is by asking questions.

Rule of engagement number 7: “start listening first by asking questions”

What are your thoughts on these 7 rules of building relationship through social media and what would you add as your number 8?

About the author: Juan Felix is founder and owner of Felix Relationship Marketing. He writes guest blogs on Relationship Marketing during the month of June. You can find him on Facebook, his Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.