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RISMedia, June 6, 2011—Make this your transformational mantra for engagement in social media. This means not just characters in tweets, but real actions and sharing with others—whether it’s your knowledge, cool tools or any other valuable information you can share. This will help you build new relationships and lead to more fans or likes, followers and others who connect with you; new business will follow.

Did you know that fans are 41 percent more likely than non-fans to recommend a product they are a fan of to their friends?*

You are the product they may recommend and no matter how big or small your sphere of influence is, treat it as your highly prized fan base. You never thought about it that way? It’s time to because while your sphere of influence is most likely a mixture of family, friends, clients and vendors, as you can see, it has real value.

Muddy waters can form between these personal and professional connections. When you communicate with them, keep your tone informative, positive and casual. Yes, in a very real sense, you have become a publisher. With this comes responsibility, but also a chance to let your personality shine through. You have the opportunity—most likely for the first time—to really influence through a medium and be a friendly influencer.

Some of us do keep our personal contacts private from our professional ones, but many of us don’t and never will. No matter with whom you are communicating—family or clients—never let a difficult conversation start or develop online. Online communication is a time for a no-drama approach. But by all means let your humor and wisdom shine through.

Taking the conversation offline when it makes sense is a good practice, too. Social media is a platform, like any other, and has limitations. Know when to move to a more personal medium to further develop the relationship.

There’s a philosophy about accumulating small amounts of acceptance through the right behaviors, which then promotes full acceptance. One of these key behaviors is to add value every time you tweet, post or commune with your base, and as the old saying goes: boil that frog slowly, and he’ll be oblivious and never jump out of the pot!

*; June 2010

Chris Kaucnik is chief marketing officer for Home Warranty of America. For more information, please visit