Looking for the Key to Social Media Success? Listen to Your Mother!

Thanks to Guest Blogger Michelle Shaeffer.
Social Media Success: Listen to your mother
Social media isn’t a mystery if you just remember the lessons your mother taught you.

1. Practice makes perfect so stick with it.

Remember when your mom wouldn’t let you quit piano, trumpet, watercolors, or soccer after your first two lessons? You’ll need that determination to stick with it and keep practicing to succeed with social media.

Don’t expect instant results. Anything new takes some time to master. Be ready to invest the time to learn the tools or develop the strategy you need to reach your goals.

2. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Bite your tongue! It’s so simple—and often so challenging—but always good advice. Resist the temptation to be negative or tear down others. Leave a positive impression instead. It’ll reflect well on you and your business.

And if your feistiness gets the best of you, just remember her related advice, “Get over there and apologize right now, young lady!”

3. Answer me when I ask you a question!

Want the fastest way to make friends and get noticed on social media?

Most people on social media busy themselves sharing about their own little world. If everyone else is talking, be the person who is listening.

Get out there with the intention of finding ways to be helpful and provide resources and answers for others.

4. As long as you’re under my roof, you’ll do as I say.

Closely related to the popular motherly warning, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it.” While your mother probably didn’t really mean it, the social networks do.

Play by the rules. Don’t try to bend them. You can lose your accounts on any of the social networking sites in the blink of an eye if you get caught violating the terms. So don’t risk it.

Remember that your connections on social media sites are only there as long as those websites stay online and your accounts stay active. Make it a goal to get your connections to follow you back to your website and connect with you by opting in to your list.

5. Don’t pick your nose in public. Or, do you really think you’re wearing THAT out of the house?

If you wouldn’t want it to show up as a quote attributed to you on a billboard your grandmother will drive by tomorrow, don’t say it today on social media. Keep in mind the impressions you’re making and be smart about what you share and how you share it.

And there you have it! Another time when Mom really was right and did teach you what you needed to know to succeed.

Have a social media lesson you learned from your mom? Please share it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Building your business online shouldn’t mean teetering on the edge of insanity. Michelle Shaeffer helps frazzled online business owners overcome technical problems by choosing the right solutions to create, leverage, and automate their websites, blogs and social media presence to get noticed, inspire fans, thrill clients, and serve their tribes. Launch yourself into 2012 with a blog that rocks. Or, click here to connect with Michelle and get free goodies.

Image Credit: monkey_business/StockFresh


  1. Everyone loved my mother. She even got along with the people who normally don’t have friends. She looked for the good in everyone. I miss her everyday. She told me that once the words are heard, they can never be taken back. You can apologize, but the words will never be forgotten – especially if they are hurtful.
    My take on it is this: think twice, and then speak from your heart. Before criticizing another person, first consider if you’ve ever done what you don’t like in their behavior; and NEVER speak about a person’s personality, only their behavior (even if they’re from a different political party than you!! LOL).
    Make It So!

    • @Lianda, your mom sounds like a beautiful person. And, her lesson(s) is a good one – for life and for social media. If everyone spoke from their heart more often, what a wonderful world it would be. Don’t you think? Thanks for sharing your loving thoughts. Have a great day. 🙂 ~Debra

  2. This blogpost is the best!! You definitely must play by the rules and never bend them!!

    Lawrence Bergfeld

  3. Bravissimo, Michelle!

    What an entertaining post with the very best social media advice!

    Here’s one from my mom …

    “Measure twice. Cut once.”

    I used to love to sew and I made several of my outfits in Junior High — thanks to learning all the skills in Home Economics class.

    Although mom’s saying doesn’t apply to using social media, it’s still darn good advice. 🙂

    Thanks, Debra, for inviting Michelle to be your guest author.

    Moms Rule! 😉

  4. Great post. It sounds like it was written by my mother. I can’t even think of another mom saying to add! You must have made it through all of the momisms in the manual. I am trying to think of something that I tell my child as a mother, and that advice would be–if you don’t understand something, keep asking questions… I have learned so much from other bloggers through reading their blogs and asking them questions and I have been amazed how generous they are with their assistance… 🙂

  5. Michelle, I love the way you modified your mom’s advice to apply to business. I remember my mom sharing these words of wisdom. Of course it took several years for me to figure out that she knew what she was talking about. 🙂 Great post.

    • @Lisa, I think, as kids, most of us probably didn’t want to agree that our moms were right. I don’t think you’re alone when you say it took several years to figure out that your mom knew what she was talking about. 🙂
      @Kristen, your advice to your child is wonderful. There’s always something new to learn and, yes, many people out there are willing to share their knowledge.
      @Melanie, I agree with Michelle. And, @Michelle, you’re welcome, but my thanks go to you for sharing for the wonderful post!

  6. @Lianda, That’s beautiful, wise advice.

    @Lawrence, Some rules aren’t worth the risk to bend. I’d like to keep my social networking accounts so I do my best to play by their rules.

    @Melanie, Hmmm… if we get creative enough I’m sure we could come up with a way to apply that! 😉

    @Debra, thanks so much for allowing me to share my post on your blog.

  7. Michelle,

    I really love this stuff. Amazing how intuitive your mom was and how relevant her advice still is. Life and business are not so complicated that we need to be looking at all kinds of fancy ways to communicate.

    We only need to be reminded, once in a while, of how insightful mom really was.

    Thanks for taking me back.


    • @Marc, our moms were smarter than we gave them credit for when we were kids. I don’t have any children, but I’m guessing that even today kids don’t realize the wisdom their parents are imparting upon them. It’s only as we grow up that we start to see and appreciate the wisdom of our moms (and dads).

  8. This is great advice Debra! So many people try to make social media much more complicated than it needs to be. I’m always telling people to “keep it simple”. Your blog post has helped me to drive that point home. It’s a great piece that I’ve shared on my social networks so that others can learn from you. Keep up the good work!

    • @Marty, seems like there are many things in life that we make more complicated than they are. Why do we do that? Thanks for sharing this with the peeps in your social networks. I love it when others find value in the information I post and want to share it with others.

      One of the videos I posted is about KISS (Keep it simple sweetheart) and how it relates to writing content. If you’d like to watch it, it’s at http://youtu.be/BVcPYiG2WRw
      Have a great day. Thanks again. ~Debra

  9. Awesome post Michelle. I think your mom and my mom have a lot in common!

    Here are a few more:

    Sarcasm may be fun in our house, but our funny isn’t funny to everyone. This one is certainly one that was specific to my family. We have a weird sense of humor that includes sarcasm. We could say something to each other that is taken as totally hilarious that others either a) don’t get or b) find offensive. I tie this closely to the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” While your jokes may seem really funny to you as you reply on Facebook or other sites, recognize that your entire audience may not “get it.” I find this especially true on Facebook where I’m connected to people from birth & grade school all the way to people I’ve never met face-to-face.

    Never Assume! (I had a college professor once that said assumptions made an ass out of U or ME…. that stuck with me.) Some people are really open with their thoughts and lives on social media, while others only share parts. Don’t assume that people believe the same way you do. The same goes for why they are on the social media sites. Some are there to grow their business, some are there to pass the time and some are looking for a date, etc.

    Awesome post and tie. 🙂 Sharing.
    To your success!

    • Hi @Stephanie, so nice to see your comments here. I always think about the word “Assume” when I hear others use it or when I find myself about to use it. I think the saying your college professor shared with you is one I learned when I entered the professional world and it has always stuck with me. Thanks for sharing your and your mom’s pearls of wisdom. Much appreciated.

  10. You think you will never say those things to your own kids and then you do and realize, “Holy cow, I have turned into my own mother.”

    Great work at making those momisms apply to social media.

    • @Ann, your comment brought a smile to my face, as it’s so true. I find myself saying things these days and think “I sound like my parents” (and I don’t have kids). Thanks for sharing. And, I agree, @Michelle made a great comparison here – one, it seems, we can all relate to. Have a great day. ~Debra

  11. @Kristen, so true. There’s someone out there with the right answer if we keep looking and keep asking.

    @Lisa, it took me a while, too. Moms seem a lot smarter the older we get. 🙂

    @Marc and @Marty, that’s it in a nutshell–it really doesn’t have to be complicated if we just keep common sense and good manners in mind.

    @Stephanie, great points. It’s easy to forget that our own world views aren’t the only ones.
    Michelle Shaeffer recently posted…Find & Help Your Tribe through Social Media (Free Teleclass)My Profile

  12. And if you say something make sure you check out the facts, especially if you are putting yourself out there as an authority.
    Love the sense of humor and tongue in cheekiness of this post. Thanks for sharing

  13. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Yep. My mother said that one to us over and over. And I to my kids these days, too. And it is so true in social media, even when (just occasionally) one is tempted to react faster than is wise.
    David Leonhardt recently posted…Enough – [Christmas video]My Profile

  14. @Roberta Thanks, it was fun to share with a bit of humor in there.

    @David I suspected I wasn’t the only one who heard that repeatedly as a child. 🙂
    Michelle Shaeffer recently posted…Could They Erase YOU From the Internet Tomorrow?My Profile

  15. I can relate to every one of those (I can’t remember her telling me not to pick my nose though) and I’m grateful for everyone one of those lessons.

    In relation to “You not wearing THAT are you” I do remember the weeks of searching for my favorite cut off short shorts and couldn’t find them any where. Later I learned they ended up in the trash because she was tired of seeing my rear.

    I am so thankful for my wonderful and loving mother. The one thing I remember her teaching me is “You can do anything you want to do as long as you put your mind to it”. By teaching me that she gave me the self confidence that I could really do whatever I wanted to do in life.
    Rhonda Neely recently posted…Pave the Way to a Serene Christmas with Shopping SolutionsMy Profile

    • @Rhonda, I still have a favorite pair of cut off shorts! I don’t wear them, but don’t have the heart to get rid of them (I had hand embroidered them & they hold some sentiment).

      My mom taught me by example that you can do anything you want as long as you put your mind to it. In her lifetime she was everything from a nursery school bus driver and hospital administrator to a part owner of a real estate company and a travel agent. Alas, she passed on at too young an age (56). Many years ago I was honored with the Small Business of the Year Award, and while my mom wasn’t there in body, she was in spirit. I thanked her for being my inspiration to pursue my writing business. Thanks for sharing & for bringing up that memory for me.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge