Yes, baby boomers like me are taking the internet by storm.  We’re connecting with old friends on Facebook and reaching out to strangers on Twitter.  According to the Consumer Electronics Usage Survey from Accenture study, baby boomers posted a 59 percent increase in using social networking sites—more than 30 times faster than Gen Y at 2 percent).

But are we really using it effectively?  Based on my observation I would have to say the majority of us are not—especially when it comes to using forums and trying to promote our products or services.  The BIGGEST MISTAKE some baby boomers make is not understanding the social media etiquette connected to the various sites.

Case in point:  I belong to a number of boomer-related sites on LinkedIn and Facebook.  I have noticed that people will go onto the site and ask you to read their blog, buy their book or just ask a question, but they do not engage in an ongoing dialogue when someone responds back to them.  Nor do they bother to comment on anything others post.  It’s like they “spray and pray” their stuff—looking for someone to be interested in what they’re saying or selling but there’s no follow-up on their part.

In his article, An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette, Chris Brogan offers some tips that applies to EVERYONE:

Commenting about other people’s stuff and promoting other people’s stuff is very nice.

Promote others more often than you promote yourself.

Listening is important and commenting is important.

Promote others, and it’s much more likely people will help promote you when it’s your turn.

Be sure to acknowledge others who comment on something you’re posted with your own comments.(mine)

Allow others to get to know more about you personally instead of constantly hawking your products or services. (mine)

Boomers who want to do business online MUST learn social media etiquette because no matter how “mature” you are, people are still only willing to do business with those they know, like and trust.