In the online world, a website can be likened to a nation and a social media profile to an embassy representing that nation; one which helps it maintain good relations with the other nations. The better your social media embassy is built, the more effective it helps you reach out to those other nations.

The clever concept of social media embassies has been around for some time on the web. I'm not its creator but I've developed my own way of building a social media embassy, and here's what I've learned in the process:

1. You Need A Developed Website

Nations need to reach a certain level of development before it makes sense to establish embassies in other countries. Its the same with you. First you have to develop your website, enriching it with high-quality content and optimizing it for search engines, and only then can you start focusing on improving your social media profiles.

Remember that your website will always be there, whereas your social media embassies might move or close, depending on the fortunes of social networks.

2. Learn The Manners And Behave Yourself

To do its job effectively, the embassy staff needs to learn and respect the manners and customs of the natives. The same applies to social media embassies. Each social network has its own rules of conduct. LinkedIn, for example, is more serious than Facebook, which in its turn a bit more serious than Twitter.

Before going about seeking new friends and followers, observe how the other users behave, noting what language they use and how they do it. How informal are they? How often do they use emoticons? Get a feel for that and do what they do, sticking to the unwritten rules, and you wont be perceived as a pester, or worse, as a spammer.

3. Customize Your Social Media Profile To Reflect Who You Really Are

Embassies are usually located centrally in a country's capital, in an imposing building, which impresses, or at least elicits a feeling of respect from visitors. Your social media profile has to do the same. If your profile is empty, plain, or outdated, visitors wont take you seriously, and establishing and maintaining relations with others becomes a lot harder.

Therefore, before going about trying to make friends, put some effort into improving your profile with useful content, including plenty of media. Also, write a powerful About text, and fill all the other required forms with accurate information.

4. Create The Right Social Media Profiles

Nations usually establish their first embassies in neighboring countries, the ones with whom they are in friendly relations. Do the same when opening up your embassies " choose the social networks with care. Facebook and Twitter are the two must-haves, but there are other platforms out there: Google+, LinkedIn, Bebo, Orkut, Myspace, hi5, Netlog.

Some of these platforms are so popular in certain countries (like Orkut in India and Brazil and hi5 in Latin America) that if you live in one of those countries you cannot afford not to use them.