Thank you for attending my talk today at SMB Bangor! I hope you found it informative and valuable to helping create your own professional and personal policies around social media.
To clarify some points, when I mentioned that I don’t talk about politics, that’s me! I am not a politician, I am a teacher and a geek, and I might mention politics as it pertains to my interests. My issue was that it’s not often professional for a business presence to post like an angry BDN commenter, which I’ve seen happen. It might win friends on your team, but it alienates those on the opposing side.
Facebook & businesses: Get a fan page! I won’t add a business as a friend, because in most cases, I don’t really want a business accessing my own facebook feed. There’s nothing there that is untoward, it just doesn’t feel right. The internet is real life – I don’t really want you to sell me widgets in my house, but I would love to come to your widget store and chat with you there!
Promotion, sharing, complaining — all happen on social networks, but it’s really the OVER-promotion, OVER-sharing, OVER-complaining that gets under folks’ skin. I want your business to have a special offer for me for being a fan, that’s great! I don’t want that to be the only communication we have, and I don’t want it to be the only reason you are using social media. Promotion from a business is expected, and a great use of the tool. Promotion from your Facebook friends is where it gets icky. If you only see me as a possible customer for your most recent foray into a multi-level marketing opportunity, I will hide you, and then I see nothing. Great for me, but it means your message is totally lost, now.
Having a personal AND professional presence: I don’t, but that’s in part because I have a career that I love, that is so ingrained into my life that I can’t separate it out. Technology is something I am passionate about, and to try to keep my thoughts separate from my general posts would be impossible. If I were tweeting for a business, as an employee that may or may not be there forever, then I would probably want a separate account (either the hired gun tweeter or the business.) Since my career is going to be focused on technology regardless of where I work, I don’t maintain separate accounts.
And, again, it all comes back to “the internet is real life.” The people who OVER-share/promote/complain are probably the same people in your office doing the same thing with detailed visits of a doctor appointment/party catalogs in your mailbox/whining about the boss, it’s just that in a social network, it’s much more public, and it’s magnified with that publicity. We all have people that rant about politics in our real life, or we all have people that are really passionate about their career or product and so it ends up peppering a real-life conversation. Just know that what you’re saying — online and off — impacts others’ opinions of you or your brand.