Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Media Etiquette: Are You Developing (or Destroying) Your Online Reputation and Relationships?

Many service-based business owners are leveraging the power of social media in their marketing and brand communication strategies - which is wonderful to see.

Unfortunately though, there are some unscrupulous (or perhaps 'uneducated') users, who are not following social media 'etiquette ' and are therefore destroying their reputation and any chance of building solid relationships with their network.

When it comes to social media, whether you are a novice or a pro, here are 10 DO NOT's and 10 principles you should adopt to ensure you use these technologies appropriately in your online interactions.

When connecting with me on Social Media - DON'T:

1. Post inappropriate photos and/or comments on my Facebook wall or Twitter feeds.

2. Blatantly promote your products and services on my wall.

3. Send me an email about your upcoming workshop/event after having only just connected with me. We haven't had the opportunity to get to know one another yet.

4. Only post/write information about YOU and YOUR products and services. Just because I am connected to you, doesn't mean I have given you an open invitation to broadcast your promotions.

5. Tag me in a video/photograph/other post that has no relevance to me because you're only trying to get my attention. Guess what? You did, but for the wrong reason. I've just unfriended and/or blocked you.

6. Include my Twitter handle in a post to get my attention about your product or affiliate link. Again, you've got my attention but I won't be following you OR clicking through the link. Anyway, you've probably just had your Twitter account banned for spamming.

7. Ask me to tell me more about myself and the work I'm doing. This shows me you haven't bothered to read my profile, wall posts or feeds.


9. Send me an invitation to connect using the standard request provided by the technology platform. This indicates that you have not taken the time to read my profile.

[Note: I've been guilty of this myself so it's a great reminder for me too, NOT to do this].

10. Use disrespectful language; bullying tactics; or name calling when commenting on my wall. If you disagree with something that either I or one of my followers has said, that's fine - I respect your opinion. Please respect my opinion and that of my followers.

When connecting with me on Social Media - DO:

1. Be a relationship builder and show me that you care.

Show a genuine interest in what people are doing and saying and take the time to build relationships just as you would with any face-to-face interaction. People are more likely to recommend you, share your information with their network, or do business with you if they know, like and trust you.

2. Be respectful of others' opinions even if you don't agree with them.

Social media allows you to connect with thousands of people you would never have had the opportunity to meet if you were just relying on face-to-face networking. And, many of them will probably have different values and opinions than you.

Don't force your thoughts or beliefs onto others in a disrespectful manner - after all, your opinion is just that - yours. Instead be willing to be respectful of them despite the differences.

3. Be on-brand and mindful of the online footprint you're creating.

Everything you do and say reflects on you and your brand. Be sure that your posts, comments and interactions are of a professional manner and that you aren't creating digital dirt that could cause a prospect to 'not' hire you.

If you think something could be misconstrued or if you wouldn't want a prospective client to read it - don't post it! They'll surely find it, which may be the reason they hire your competitor rather than you.

4. Be a 'giver' and not only a 'taker'

Social networking is not all about taking and receiving but rather it's about sharing resources and passing on information that you know would be of interest people.

The more helpful and supportive you are in your interactions the more likely others will be willing to extend the hand of friendship and support when you need it.

5. Be honest in all your business dealings.

The technologies we have at our fingertips allow us to do business with people on the other side of the world without ever having to meet them.

Unfortunately, some people misuse these technologies by misrepresenting themselves and misleading people into parting with their hard-earned dollar.

Ensure that you manage all your business dealings with the highest of integrity, service and honour, and that your customers are happy to recommend you to their extended network.

Remember, when using social media, the information you share and your interactions should not be 'all about you'. Avoid blatant broadcasting and promotion of your products and services to your followers.

Rather it's about 'networking', sharing valued-added resources, showing an interest in others, providing support and assistance, and about establishing and nurturing a strong network of likeminded people.

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