In the last ten years, social media has become an ever-present part of our lives.
We have the ability to follow, listen to, or speak to almost anyone on Earth — all from our smartphones.
The town hall has become a global arena, where everyone has the ability to be heard.
The one thing I think we’ve forgotten about in a digitally-based world is that there are human beings on the other end of that communication.
The ease with which we can broadcast out thoughts to a worldwide audience sometimes makes us react too quickly, and not consider the words we are permanently attaching to our names and our brands.
These are things I believe we can do better than we are. These may seem like common sense, but perhaps it’s good to hear them again.
Speak As If The Other Person Were There
Facebook, Twitter, and forum sites like Reddit are places where we can say whatever springs to mind. Too often, we type before we think, and post things that we would never say to someone face-to-face.
The greatest benefit of the web — the ability to communicate with people over great distances — is also it’s greatest drawback.
We tend to treat people differently when they’re in the same room as us, as opposed to being behind a screen many miles away.
If you wouldn’t say it someone’s face, don’t say it on social media.
Whether we realize it in the moment or not, there are always real people on the other end of that subtweet, Facebook rant, or forum post.
If you’re serious about building a brand, you should be the same way online as you are in person. People remember what you post on social media, even if they don’t say anything about it.
Have you ever noticed that all major philosophies echo the fact that the attitude that you put out into the world is exactly what you attract?
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that positive-minded people seem to be much happier and successful than folks who are constantly negative.
It may fashionable to grumble about every person that offends you, or post angry remarks about people you dislike. But over the long-term, this constant negativity can repel people from following you.
If we are negative, we will attract more negative people to us. If we are positive, we’re more likely to attract positive people to us.
It doesn’t always pay to put people on blast, and write negative things about them on social media.
If you have their email or phone number, reach out to them instead. Bring it face-to-face, and work things out (see the section above).
On the flip side, if someone is harassing or threatening you, block them and don’t engage with them at all. Trolls and bullies crave attention, it’s part of what gives them power. The Block and Mute buttons are your friend.
No One Is Irrelevant
Marketer and best-selling-author Gary Vaynerchuk frames this problem in his article, “It’s Not About The Numbers”.
He highlights a real-life case where a Twitter user bought a Sponsored Tweet which was about a negative customer experience they had. One social media pundit mocked the fact that the Twitter user only had six followers, so their opinion therefore didn’t matter.
The problem with this mentality is you don’t know who is connected to who in the real world.
Sure, a person may only have ten followers, but that doesn’t make them irrelevant. One of their friends may have a friend who has a job in publication, radio, or TV. Before you know it, the tweet from that so-called “irrelevant” person may end up on national TV.
You cannot possibly be aware of the connections of every person in your Timeline.
Be safe. Be smart. Treat everyone with respect.
Your Clients Read Your Timelines
Too often, we forget that our Facebook and Twitter timelines are public. We believe that only our colleagues and followers are listening.
Your customers — your clients — can also access your social media streams.
If you’re having a bad day, or are frustrated by a client, don’t break the First Rule.
Never, ever, say negative things about your clients on social media.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “I wasn’t talking about my good clients — I only meant the one bad client I have.”.
Perhaps this is true. But all the other clients you do business with won’t know this.
If you let your frustrations with one client spill onto social media, every single client you do business with will be wondering, “I wonder if they’re talking about me?”
Silence can be golden on social media. When in doubt, leave it out.
Succeeding on social media requires following the same rules you’d follow to succeed in face-to-face business.
- Treat people with respect.
- Don’t be negative.
- Your customers read your Timelines.
- Remember, people have long memories.
- Publishing on the internet is like writing in permanent ink.
- Don’t judge others by their follower count.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Remember you and your followers are the same flesh and blood as everyone else.