Many business owners are realizing that Social Media is something they cannot avoid anymore. They now dedicate themselves to getting a Facebook page, a twitter account, an Instagram account and Linkedin profile. Then I hear endless whining... Ranging from running out of content to write, the bitter disappointment of lack of likes or re-tweets, and no response to their online promotions. Here are some of my personal Do's and Don’ts for online etiquette:
1) Build common ground, establish yourself as an expert in your field. In Linkedin, it is very helpful to join in discussions in groups, comment and share your thoughts and case studies, be helpful to other members!
2) Get a professional head shot photo for business social networks like Linkedin. You can use a more causal photo for Facebook, etc, just remember shadowy pictures of you from the BBQ 5 years back might make viewers discount your professionalism.
3) Spelling and Grammar do count… so try to avoid making posts using your smart phone. On my phone I have tweeted ridiculous things due to auto-correct. Nothing too embarrassing, but you get the point.
4) Have a clear goal, and measure your results and use Google Analytics to see what is working, and what is not. This way you can be more productive and efficient moving forward.
5) Focus on Engagement instead of number of likes. You can pay someone to get Facebook likes. If those likes come from Pakistan, and have nothing to do with your brand, it’s useless. Be a part of the community, and share useful information to your community. Examples include local events, how to's, info-graphics, white papers, case studies, e-books, etc.
6) Be vocal with your values, and use actions to demonstrate how you live your corporate values. Instead of saying your company is a strong community player, go attend a local board of trade fair. Attend, or have a booth at a farmer’s market, or sponsor a local civic event.
7) Be consistent with your brand, determine your logo, corporate colours. You should also hire a graphic designer to make the profile backdrop for all your social media, so people know what your brand is all about. If you’re a professional medical doctor, dentist, DO NOT purchase standard prewritten monthly newsletter sets that look pretty. They are not consistent with your brand, and generic content is wasted. In addition most of those are written by Americans, and our Canadian audience will feel the difference. When you create a new promotion or event, remember to use photos with permission. DO NOT just take it off of some website and call it your own, that is violation of the privacy act. Look for photos with Creative Common symbol, which means the photographer gives you permission to use that photo.
8) Be consistent with the flow of information, if you go on vacation, assign someone in your company to continue the social media. Don’t just leave it for a month, and come back and think everything will be okay.
1) People are people, no matter where you connect with them, so don’t go pitching to them right off the bat. The ratio is for every eight Facebook posts or tweets, one can be a direct corporate pitch and one more promoting a company blog-post or article. Social Media is not just additional channels to stuff your spam down people’s throat through pretty pictures & memes.
2) Don’t be rude online as in don’t complain and whine about everything under the sun, and troll others. Everyone is watching, you can easily ruin your professional reputation due to an online feud you have in your personal life. Keep your personal stuff personal. I’m sure what seemed like a total catastrophe in your 20’s now seems like not a big deal. You don’t need to be “perfect” citizen your whole life, and to create a perfect online persona. You do need to remember that HR managers might research you on social media before a hiring. Your potential investors could also google you before making the commitment, so don’t jeopardize your future opportunities. If it’s something you don’t want your mom to know, then don’t share it with the whole online world.
3) Over-sharing: there is such a thing as too much information. For businesses on Facebook, the ratio is about one post a day, for twitter, three original tweets from you daily. Of course feel free to re-tweet others useful tweets, some activity on your linkedin page, and at least one blog post on your website weekly and once a monthly newsletter. Some people send out more email newsletters, even daily, that’s ok if you make it clear when you’re opting people in. If that is the case, make sure it’s short and sweet. Remember, people are reading emails on their smart phone and tablet these days. Make sure they’re adaptable to phones and it’s easy to read, and quick to load.
4) You absolutely can leverage your contacts in your social media to turn into sales, but you need to be tactful. Blasting everyone in your list without discernment with opening lines like Dear Gentlemen is offensive. You risk losing that connection, even worse, your connection will rant about your spam on other social media networks. Start with writing an e-book, white paper, info-graphics, or a very useful article related to your industry, write a simple clear email offering your value. It’s like an appetizer that gets people hungry and curious. If you’re good at what you do, leverage your testimonials and recommendations to get referrals. It is much easier to ask for referrals from your connections than to directly pitch to them. If they’re interested, they will contact you. Offer a complimentary consultation or product sample so they can try you out.
5) Don't lose your patience, Rome was not build in one day, either is your brand. Invest six months to a year in consistent social media content with good writing, useful tips, fantastic photos and video and other multimedia content such as PPT, slides, infographics, memes, etc to drive traffic to your website. YES, remember the purpose of it all is to drive traffic to your site! So track where traffic is coming from.
Besides wasting my time laughing my butt off on cute animal videos, I also get lost watching TED educational cartoons. I especially liked one called “How To Understand Power” by Eric Liu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Eutci7ack
For all my life I tried hard to avoid politics. I thought it’s a bunch of people who are puppets of the wealthy, pushing agendas on the general populace that don’t have power. It was a complete waste of money, resources through campaigns of propaganda and manipulation. In my 20’s I didn’t even vote, because I had so little faith in the system. I do vote now because I genuinely care about the environment and feel like it’s one thing that’s more important than all the other “isms” going on. I love people, society, and marvel at all the stellar diversity among various cultural groups, species, and never tire of my thirst to learn more. The deeper I dig, that conversation inevitably involves politics.
Listening to my spiritual teacher Jeffrey Armstrong, I learned about the tension in the Middle East now is really a fraction between three groups that had the same origin (Judaism, Christianity and Muslim). Those traditions has harmed and impoverished the females role and power in society as a reflection of the monolithic masculine religion. Talking to my friend Mynor who is from Guatemala, I learned that the reason why central and south America has not flourished is because of CIA’s toppling of democratic leaders their people elected. They are then replaced with brutal dictators who have no problem with genocide. I still remember talking to a friend of mine in University who was from Jamaica who educated me how International Monetary Fund set extremely cruel and unrealistic conditions for lending. These conditions essentially force small third world developing countries to give/sell their natural resources at pennies on the dollar in order to get the loans they desperately need for development. It made me realize, we are now ECONOMIC slaves, and usury is the binding rope that is enslaving us through our unstoppable desire for material consumption. I believe living minimally, and letting go of materialism is the first step to unplugging from the system. The less stuff you have, the more free you are.
I do believe in the power of group, only together, we can stand and make a difference. Do watch this video and I hope you find it helpful. Don’t be a sheep.