Social Networking Sites like Facebook and MySpace are intended as gathering places for friends and acquaintances. As Network Marketing and other businesses have moved the bulk of their marketing efforts to the internet, social networking sites have drawn these business people in.
The primary benefit of using these sites is that they are free. Every company is looking for low cost ways to attract business. Network Marketers and other home-business owners are particularly in need of free and low-cost ways to market their businesses.
When using social network sites to network for business purposes, certain rules, etiquette, and best practices need to be followed. There are two practices in particular that people engage in that are big mistakes. These are concerning the topics of politics and religion.
When networking, it is important to present yourself as a real person. You need to give some personal information about your interests, activities, and biography. You need only give just enough information to make a personal, non-business connection with others. You do not need to tell it all, however, especially controversial subjects.
Stating your political party in your biography is about as far as you should go with sharing your political views. It is even better to just leave that information out. The area of politics includes social principles, government policy and laws, and personal ethics.
While on networking sites, it is quite tempting to join causes and groups that you personally feel passionately about. It is also understandable to want to invite your friends to join them as well. Before jumping on a bandwagon, take a moment to think about how deeply you feel about that particular issue.
If it is something that stirs you emotionally and physically remember that other people on your friends list very likely have the same strong reaction. They may, however, have those feelings from the other viewpoint. They may become offended by you approaching them with your opinions.
If there is one subject that can spark intense feelings strong enough to ignite a war, it is religion. Again, stating your religious persuasion on your profile is your choice. That should be the limit of expressing your spiritual views if you feel strongly enough that it has to be said.
It is common to post or send Holiday Wishes. Take care about posting things on people's walls. Someone who is Muslim may not appreciate a Christian based greeting posted to their wall.
I have seen some people post scriptures or spiritual doctrine in their status box as well. Even though they are posting their spiritual opinions on their own walls, it can be offensive to some business contacts who visit their profiles to learn more about them. It may make them feel as if the other person is so engaged in their own beliefs that they will be intolerant of other people who hold different beliefs.
Face it, business is business. When networking with colleagues, it is proper business etiquette to leave politics and religion out of the picture. It runs the risk of alienating potential business associates.
If a person has just started out using social networking for business, his profile may be too personal. It is never too late to revise it into a more professional picture of yourself. You can still tell people about your kids and dog or your fly fishing lure collection. But leave the politics and religion for your personal profile account where you socialize with your family and personal friends.