Every year I attend Generation W, an annual event in Jacksonville, Fla., that brings together leaders and experts from around the country for a day of education, inspiration and connection for women. Full disclosure, this is one of my clients and one that always seems to inspire me personally as well as professionally, especially during a session led by public relations and social media consultant Angie Orth.
Her session, which was titled “The Digital Divide: To Post or Not to Post,” was about how individuals can use social media in positive and constructive ways–especially teens who may not be aware that everything they post now has the ability to affect their future. During her presentation Angie challenged the audience to consider several questions before they post anything on a social media network—and, now, I’m challenging you to consider those same questions as you prepare your professional and corporate social media strategies:
Am I seeking approval or attention?
Do not post things just because you’re looking for a little positive affirmation that people actually like you—this is self-serving. You should consider how your posts will make your audience feel, not you. People are busy and will not stay connected to businesses or individuals that fill their newsfeeds with nothing but self-promotion.
Does my status reflect a fleeting emotion?
People will remember if you were rude—even if the post has been deleted.
Try to refrain from emotional posting. Do not respond from a place of anger or frustration—those feelings often pass after a time of reflection, allowing you to respond in a clearer and more respectful way.
Is this statement helpful?
As a professional trying to engage with customers and clients, your focus should be on helping them, not making their lives more difficult. As you create your strategy, make sure everything you post is relevant to your audience—consider what he or she is doing that time of day, where he or she might be reading your post or what seasonal activity he or she is trying to accomplish.
Is this something I would say in person?
Social media is really about creating conversation—not reading through a monologue. Focus on developing online relationships the way you would offline relationships and only say things you would say if you were standing in a room full of people.
Is this a moment to protect?
Sometimes we are so busy trying to plan what we are going to post about an event or activity that we actually miss enjoying—or being a part of—an event or activity. Not everything needs to be broadcasted to your social media networks the moment it happens. Don’t let your online posting responsibilities dictate your offline actions. Another note, don’t make people feel envious of your professional or corporate life—your posts should make them feel like they are part of the moment, not sitting on the sidelines wishing they were you.
What tips do you have for knowing what to post on your professional social media networks?
Patti Minglin is the founder/CEO of Go Girl Communications, a sales and marketing consultancy that specializes in helping companies effectively connect with women and moms.
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