Social media provides the open, very public forum for sharing your passions, thoughts, feelings, successes, failures, and being transparent and genuine. For the sake of your business and the benefit of your clients and prospects, we have these readily available tools to help develop brands and connect with clients and buyers alike.
But, this is not the time to lose perspective of your voice
At this moment in time, we see much higher engagement with our community across different platforms. And I don’t mean just social media; I’m talking about Zoom, WebEx, texts, emails, and the typical social media platforms.
We are all spending more time online, in front of our tiny devices, and with less opportunity for physical interactions, both grouped and in private. And for some, you may be experiencing that new dopamine rush delivered by garnishing Likes, Loves, and software-siloed comment activity. This is a new paradigm to navigate.
We have more time, and more of our peers, prospects, and clients are finding us across multiple platforms either due to time or desire for connection. With this mingling, we’re no longer able to neatly contain our personal and business personas to a single channel. It’s time to recenter your attitude and adjust your voice across all platforms. It’s time to caution against letting it rip on a Twitter rant after 6 pm on Friday and then dropping some LinkedIn educational content at 9 am Monday. We see you. And we are now judging you in totality and not in one place only.
What am I talking about, you ask?
I’m talking about trash and judgmental perspectives you are pushing on Facebook that is polarizing your client and friend audience. They talk about you offline (dark social) with their spouses or friends and screenshot your activity to share in conversations that start with “I don’t think I’m going to do business with John again” or “John sure has done a good job, but I’m not sure I’ll use him again based on this behavior.”
If you think you are immune to this, you are mistaken. Your online moments (social media or online meetings) create conversations in private. It doesn’t all live in the comment string or the Like button.
Wait, you want me to stop keeping it real?
No, we want you to be genuine and your true self. But, right now, at this moment, you need to check yourself and ask if the words, photos, moments are the kind of things you will be proud of in five months or five years from now. I’m guessing you’ll have some cringy moments. We all do.
So how do I keep it real, have an opinion, and not just abandon the online self?
Well, there is no way to abandon your online self. That ship has sailed, Buttercup. Here are some easy ways to recenter and go forth to thrive.
- Remember, Zoom meetings are social events that have lasting effects. Much like you wouldn’t show up to a client’s office with a beer wearing your skivvies, keep the attire somewhere between upper casual to business casual for most. If your company has a dress code, being at home doesn’t negate the entire policy. Even though everyone is giving grace and forgiveness, for now, that time has likely already come to a close without any formal notification.
- Your political leanings are yours. Make no assumptions that your particular persuasion is the same message of your organization. I’m not talking about a “know your audience” message here. This is a moment of “know your company’s beliefs and behavior” and “know how your company wants to be known.”
Again, this doesn’t exist just on your social media profiles. It is with great frequency that your personal social media profiles or private text messages get screenshotted and shared with peers, managers, and between those making purchasing decisions regarding you and your company.
- Yes, prospects are searching you before, during, and after the sales pitch. Sure, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles are easy to find, but prospects are sizing us up across an endlessly growing number of platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Reddit, and others. And it doesn’t have to just be from your account. Your activity can be found via comments and pictures about or with you, not even posted on your account.
Yes, this is why it is not a bad practice to put that drink or that pen behind your back whenever any photo is snapped. What may be innocent and appropriate can come off in poor light when the context isn’t measured.
- Be genuine, but all of your posts don’t have to be in real-time. The great relief is that in this current age, real-time is whenever you post. A photo or thought from Tuesday night is likely relevant on Wednesday morning. You have some time to contemplate. Take a moment and do a little research and ask for perspectives if you know you are pushing divisive content. Yes, we realize that strong opinions grow an audience, but is it the right audience for you, your company, and what your employees and peers need you to attract?
- Would your children be proud of you? Mine often scoff at me for my social media prowess, but I still want them to grow up and find little nuggets of their Dad that exudes grace, giving, affirmations, and advocacy for those who haven’t experienced the same levels of luck and privilege I have encountered. Have you thought about how you want to be perceived?
This moment in time will pass, and now is the time to prepare for that future
The pendulum will swing back to less online presence at some point. It likely won’t swing back to pre-2020 levels. Make sure you live this moment with a little perspective for the future and a bigger slice in time, not with such a perspective centered on this micro-moment in life. Check yourself, measure your words, and decide if your soul is on display in the right light.
Photo by Victor Koldunov