If you’re like most people, you probably are a bit nervous over social media or have heard urban-legend-like stories about how someone got fired or lost a job in social media. I’m referring to the mainstream media hype of social media, as well as the corporate overlord mentality. Well, in this blog entry, I’ll share three ways to win and dominate social media to your advantage. It’s so simple, you’re probably already doing it.
For the privacy conscious, it may be difficult being yourself. Social Media seems to go against all that once was, in terms of personal branding, privacy and online interactions. From the beginning, we were told to not use our full name, give out our email address or get into online arguments with people who we disagree with.We’ve done a good job scaring away some of the most interesting characters online because of these fear-driven advice.
It’s about sensibility. While it may not be prudent to posting your full name on political blogs or sound off on your employer with your name, it is acceptable and encouraged to post your thoughts, beliefs and give up a bit of your privacy for the purpose of building your online reputation. For example, on my blog, you all know my name, a general run-down of my history, and a peek into what I’m currently doing. Without using my name, rather, using a pseudonym, I might not have earned your trust that way.
I recommend using your name on Twitter, Facebook, (maybe MySpace) and even email addresses. Managing your name online is the first step in building and controlling your online reputation. This way, if a spammer or an unscrupulous character comes along, you can confidently set the record straight with others.
Lying or otherwise spinning the truth can hurt you. Mainly for the people who interact on a professional level in social media, fudging the facts will damage you online. Being honest, such as describing the reasons or the data the lead up to your decisions will help others understand your perspective. Being shady, unresponsive or otherwise less than truthful will land you hot water with your audience, peers and even your employer.
While this tip is aimed at those who professionally interact in social media, it can be applied in virtually any circumstance where you raise a customer service experience, a billing experience or any other plea for support from others. (Example: Just about all Rip Off Reports are exaggerated, false or otherwise contain lies; which speaks to the authors’ credibility.)
The truth will save you in any situation.
You need to engage, even with your critics. Much like how companies who fail to comment on a critical news story are shamed in our eyes, you may be as well if you don’t interact. By engaging, you are looked up upon as a source of correct information, credible and authentic. Why bother going through traditional PR processes, when you can just send a Tweet to the VP of a company? It’s just logical that consumers (and the media) will go through this way. Being trustworthy, honest and interactive goes a long way in these efforts.
On the more casual side, you’ll gain more confidence and connections in social media if you interact. Many communities exist on Twitter, and you can form your own simply by interacting. From a consumer standpoint, many companies are listening on Twitter, and offer superior customer service to their offshored phone ones (usually because a headquarters representative oversees their Twitter account, and not an offshored contractor).
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It’s not about the tools, the networks or the technologies. It’s about the attitude and willingness to be yourself. It’s about that unwavering support for your fans and open mind to critics. It’s about your willingness to adapt to the chasm of new media and ability to let go of old traditions.
There’s probably more ways to dominate social media, but I can tell you that these three will save you and help you everytime. It did for me. 🙂