Imagine you make a comment as a reply to someone’s post and within a few hours, all hell breaks loose. The internet is in overdrive and you wish you could take back what you wrote. How many times have you seen this happen – particularly with celebrities? Don’t think that what you say in your online communities won’t come back to you. Here’s a few tips and tricks to protect your brand when building a network on line.
1. Be careful how you come across online
Words only make up 7% of all your communication skills. The rest comes down to the tone you use (38%) and your body language (55%). It’s easy for people to misinterpret your words online. You have to ensure what you say is in context and that you build tone into your words.
Anything you say on-line is captured forever in some way. If you make disparaging remarks, are abrasive, tell people they are wrong in their opinion, you will not be respected and neither will you build a network. Consider your personal and professional values, what your objectives are and how you want to be known. Before posting anything online, make sure you are consistent with how you want to be perceived. Think about what you want to say first, draft your comments, read what you have written carefully from another person’s point of view before you hit the post button.
2. Don’t post when you’re angry
It’s easy to be impulsive and react or reply to a comment in the world of social media. The problem is, that it’s instant and hard to take back if you can at all. Never, ever post anything if you are feeling angry at the time or are incensed by a comment someone else has made. Wait until you clam down and can respond in a logical and reasonable manner.
3. Don’t publicly shame others
It is not OK to publicly shame others or engage in private conversations on-line. It’s also not OK to bully others online. Reputations can be damaged by not understanding the impact your comments or posts can have on others.
4. Be aware of privacy issues
It’s not appropriate to talk about your family or what you do in your private life in online communities. Publishing the names of your children and where you went on your holiday can not only present security issues, it also compromises your ability to build relevant networks.
5. Don’t push your products and services
A word of caution, online communities are not the platform to keep pushing your products and services. Push too much and you will push people away. People will tune out or delete you from their network if all you do is make a sales pitch. Ensure you balance your posts with other newsworthy or interesting articles that add value to your target audience. Just like face-to-face networking, social networking is about making a contribution. By all means mention what you do and the results you get as long as it’s relevant to a discussion. The products and services you provide shouldn’t be your only topic of conversation online. As a general rule – for every post that promotes what you do – have ten to fifteen other posts that adds value to your audience.
Share information freely as people love to learn something new. It helps them connect with you.
6. Don’t spam
In addition to possibly contravening the spam laws in your country, no one likes being spammed – especially when others are pitching their products or services on-line. If you irritate people by spamming them it’s a sure way to get blocked or possibly reported. Use online communities as a means to build one-on-one relationships and expand your network.
7. Share information of value
In order to generate leads online, you need to build your audience first. To do this, share something of value to your target market. If they see the value in what you have posted, prospects will look to follow you. Once you have built trust and confidence, they are more likely to want to know more about your products and services and remain in your network.
8. Monitor and follow up posts
Imagine you posted a comment or article online on a Friday night and you didn’t monitor any posts, comments or responses until Monday morning. Ummmm you are leaving yourself open to something you said going viral without you knowing about it. This could possibly destroy your credibility. It’s important to monitor what others are saying in response to your posts regularly to maintain the integrity of your online networks.
9. Follow a process for managing your posts
It’s not enough to guess how to manage posts and comments online. It’s also not just about protecting your brand, it’s about maintaining trust and confidence with your followers. If you allow posts and comments to get out of hand, your followers will quickly lose faith in your ability to manage trolls, spam, inaccuracies and unhappy users in your online community. By following a process and having a posting response flow chart to follow, will protect the integrity of your online community.
On a final note
Follow these simple rules and you will build trust and confidence with an online community.
In A Nutshell
Be careful how you come across, read what you have written carefully before posting
- Don’t post anything if you are angry, wait until you calm down first or it will inflame the situation
- Don’t publicly shame others or engage in behavior that could be construed as bullying
- Be aware of privacy issues for anything you post will stay there a long time
- Don’t push your products and services – balance your posts with other interesting comments
- No spam – understand the laws on spam in your country