It's no secret that if you want to grow your business in the Connected Age, you must have a solid social media presence.

Yet many business owners feel lost in the maze of rules, technology, and terminology that comes with territory: likes, friends, followers, connections, tweets, hashtags, at-tags, posts, status updates, pages, groups, widgets, profiles, timelines, and on and on it goes.

And because social media has one thing at its core -- sociability -- you must abide by the rules of a given medium.  Otherwise, you lose credibility and, in the process, business...just like anyone who behaves awkwardly in social situations.

So how do you effectively navigate social media with charisma?

Learn the "vibe" at each network.  Just as you wouldn't wear formalwear to a football game, or athletic shorts and a tank top to a professional networking event, there are different expectations at different social networks.  Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind...

Twitter is like a cocktail party.  It consists of quick, public conversations on a host of different topics.  Discussion moves fast.  Posts, called "tweets," are capped at 140 characters -- just enough to say something clever or compelling, but not enough to dive very deep. 

Facebook is like hanging out at a pub with friends.  Unlike Twitter, which is fast-moving and brief, on Facebook you can take your time.  It's fun, it's informal, it's friendly.   Your aim here is to post  interesting, engaging content that incites discussion and gets "likes" and shares. So go ahead: pour yourself a few virtual beers, and enjoy the company and ambiance.

By the way, a new pub just opened up, called Google+.  Some recent developments have made Google+ pretty important for anyone who wants to get search traffic especially (HINT: that's all of us).  Read more about it here.

LinkedIn is like mingling at a Chamber of Commerce mixer.  It's professional networking.  People turn to LinkedIn to make industry contacts, recruit high-quality personnel, establish joint venture partnerships, and, yes, to shop for business services like your business.   Here, you must present your most professional self if you want to get ahead.

Your blog is like inviting guests over to your house.  You set the tone and the rules.  Depending on your target market, you might have a sharp, hard-charging style...a laid-back, shoot-the-breeze pace...or a just-the-facts-please formality.    The difference is that here you get to decide, because your blog is your space...just like your living room at home.

YouTube is like your own private media screening room.  You can invite people over and show them home movies, your favorite films, and videos that others have produced that have made an impact on you.  Because YouTube is the third-most visited site on the Internet, it really pays to have a presence there.

How about you?  What have you noticed about the cultures on the various social networks, and how do you tailor your approach to make sure you're appropriate and relevant on each one?

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