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Don’t leave your “social” at the media door!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Something has been bothering me lately, and it is just a little thing, but I wanted to share as although it has been mentioned time and time again by some great names in social media, I am wondering why nobody is listening!  People…send a personal message with a friend request! 

It is so simple, yet so overlooked!

Picture this.  You walk into a party.  You say your name to somebody you have never met in person and you hand them your phone number and say “call me”.  Sound a bit odd?  Open to misinterpretation?  You bet.  So think about it….sending a friend request without a little note attached is not all that dissimilar.  Sure we can get away with it on Facebook, and often the person will accept your friend request if you do it this way…but don’t you want to do it better?  Don’t you want to stand out as someone who bothered to say hello and at least have a little small-talk? 

I know personally that I respond to friend requests much quicker if someone has attached a personal message.  Not only does it show that they have bothered to find out something about me, or that they want to acknowledge mutual friends we have, but it just seems “warmer”.  When receiving a request, I  always go to the person’s profile (and fan page if there is one) and find out more about them…just so that I can respond when I (hopefully) accept their request. It starts a conversation.  It starts the engagement.  Think networking in the real world, going online.  The rules are no different. 

So think about it next time you send out your friend requests.  Find out something about the person that you have in common.  Tell them if you would like to learn more about what they do.  Comment on friends that you have in common and any mutual interests you may have.  And of course, follow up on any real life conversation or meeting you have had.  It only has to be a couple of sentences, but believe me, the person you are “friending” will appreciate that you have cared enough to make an effort! 

I know personally I have had quite a few friend requests this week, and I have immediately gravitated to those containing a small message.  The others take a little bit longer for me to get back to.  Kylie Bartlett, ( recommends giving some feedback if someone forgets to include a message… by sending them a polite note back with your acceptance and a little “small talk” to get the conversation going  and then suggesting that they try including a short message next time when networking online.    

Stop Press:  since writing this article, it appears that Linked In has also fallen victim to the connection request without personal message scenario…I really don’t need to comment on that do I?  You know what I am going to say..ok I can’t resist.  Please by all means keep doing it that way but ONLY if you promise that you will also do it at your next networking event…walk up to someone, hand them a card, and say nothing but “I would like to add you to my professional network” then walk away.  I am laughing out loud at present (the real version)…I understand we are a bit time poor, but a personal message add so much weight in in my book.  You will stand out if you bother!    

So peeps, please please start making conversation when you friend request or connection request.…ask yourself what you would do in the real world and then apply those skills online…I know that I will be more likely to spend time with you at the party if you try to engage with me first.  ;o)


Donna is Founder and Director of Socially Sorted, providing Social Media Marketing Solutions with a special interest in facebook, content and relationship marketing and the use of video marketing to generate traffic, exposure and results for small business.  Donna is our Social Media Manager at O3Office and loves the espresso in our business lounge.  Other posts by Donna Moritz


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