Yes, you’re a brand just like they are and that’s whether you’re on a social network just chatting with friends, networking, or representing a business. However, those celebrities are established brands. The adoring public will forgive them; how many times have we said “yeah, it’s okay; we still love you” to Alec Baldwin?
Remember, social networks are public forums.
Twitter is the most notorious of all of course, it’s 100% public (except for DMs) LinkedIn is public as well. You DO have flexibility with Facebook and Google+ regarding how widespread your posts are. When I say public, I’m referring to the millions who are members of a particular network.
And how many IS that*? For Twitter, 300 million +, LinkedIn 135 million, 800 million + for Facebook and Google+ is at 62 million and rising fast!
Here’s a little example of something that made me cringe. It’s no longer on my Facebook wall and could only be seen by my friends (thankfully). Chances are that 100 people may have read it before I deleted it (we’ll call my friend Ginger for this exercise):
So are you here in town? If so could you drop over?
ME: Hi Ginger, not there at the moment. I'll message you with my plans! (Soon after I responded, lost track of time while nursing a headache. Yes, my bad!)
GINGER: So where r u ? No one keeps keeps their word anymore. Just put my books in mailbox
ME (ZING! Now realizing my mistake): On my way now…
Dropping by, I learned that my friend had recently been ripped off by a car dealer and was not a happy camper! I explained that I wasn’t feeling well and had curled up into a ball (true). She gave me instant coffee which helped my headache. We’re okay now!
What’s the point here? Our words can be misunderstood. Our words ARE coming from somewhere; there’s usually a reason for them. However, despite our rationale, speaking in a public forum requires thought. Just like when we are speaking to someone vocally.
My reaction could have been negative towards her words. I may have become angry and possibly unfriended her (I’m not like that).
Though this example is more of a personal nature, imagine that you’re posting as a representative of a business. A few suggestions:
• Always remain cheerful and positive, even when responding to negativity.
• Reread your post or tweet before sharing it; read it out loud if you can.
• Try not to respond or post when you’re in a bad mood.
• When responding to an extremely negative post, don’t reply right away. Let it cool.
• Stay within your brand’s culture.
Sure, it sounds like common sense; however, you do need to remind yourself from time to time that whatever you say will be seen. We all tend to get a little lax and let things slip and slide a bit. Let this advice serve as a friendly, positive reinforcement.
Think before you post.
Alec, are you reading this?
References for stats: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+
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