Ever walk into a conference and you see someone squinting their eyes looking at you trying to determine whether or not they know you. They slowly approach, give you a warm smile and say, ‘hey, I follow you on Twitter- you put up some good stuff. It’s so nice to meet you in person.’ As you try to jog your list of followers in your head, you just give up and embrace the moment. Obviously, you must have done something right to have someone reach out in person. You chat for another 10 / 15 minutes, exchange thoughts, get to know a little more about each other (dog/family/home) and part ways, but that was just the next level of a relationship you probably didn’t even realized existed.
Long gone are the days of walking into a room without recognizing a familiar face and having to meet people the good old fashion way- awkward intros and nervousness of how that first interaction will go. The social web has eased the pressure of cold calling or connecting at first sight. Your network which once existed in a Rolodex is now a Facebook Group or LinkedIn Connection. It has eroded barriers and made everyone accessible around the world. Time zones don’t exist and no Visas are required. Regardless of our device or social app of choice, we are constantly connected.
Always being on, evokes insecurities, increases vulnerabilities, empowers ones that had a hard time finding their voice, gives others a platform to quickly spread their message amongst the masses but also to a very targeted audience. It gives false hope, opportunities for fortune and success. So, how do you navigate such an uncertain and somewhat volatile environment that is constantly pushing boundaries?
Whether it’s personal or a business- you need to learn and execute some simple best practices.
- PRESENCE: Your profile needs to 100% reflect who you are as a person/brand. It takes time to build trust. Therefore, having a profile that is less of a mystery and shares the most up to date information or images is an easy first step to establishing that trust. In addition, make sure that you are interacting or posting content that represents you. You don’t want to be one person on social and another one in person. How can you expect someone to trust you if they don’t know who they are going to get?
- PURPOSE: Make sure to determine the purpose of your different profiles and who the intended audience is. For instance, I use Facebook for family and friends, which means I don’t connect with coworkers or customers and the content I post there will be different than what I would post on LinkedIn.
- FILTER: Filter before you post and no I don’t mean a Snapchat filter. You always want to think twice before replying or posting specifically when it comes to controversial topics like politics, religion, or personal beliefs. Regardless of your right to free speech, no one is safe from corporate policies or the wrath of their readers. Integrity is key in your approach.
- IDENTIFY: Always identify who the person is by listening/reading their posts first before replying. We have a tendency of having knee-jerk reactions to comments/posts that might be pushing our buttons. How do you know that user isn’t a troll or just some really bitter person that enjoys getting people worked up?
- CONNECT: Before you connect with someone you don’t know be sure to check out their posts and ask yourself, ‘Is anything they posted is questionable that I wouldn’t want to support or be associated with?’ You also shouldn’t feel like you have to connect with everyone that does the same with you.
Of course, there is so much more to think of when figuring out this new form of digital relationships that arise from the social web. Hope the above gives you a good start on what to think about as you continue your journey. In the meantime, let me know what you think and be on the lookout for my next blog on making the social commitment.