Imagine you are at a business networking function. You are engaging in conversation when suddenly someone runs up to your group and starts yelling that his company product would be GREAT for you – only you don’t know this guy, you’ve never seen or heard of him before and he has no idea what would be GREAT for you. Kind of a turn off right?
Sadly, this “shouting” scenario is being played out every day in the social channels. Rather than engaging in conversation and offering solutions to others’ problems, there are some folks shouting that their company is the best. Social media is simply another mode of communication and if we think of it in terms of the real life situation (think of LinkedIn as an online business networking event), it becomes clear how we should behave.
To illustrate the point, here are a few more common real life/social media faux pas examples.
Incomplete LinkedIn Profile
As I pointed out in my last blog post on this topic, Social Media in Real Life (part 1), you would never hand someone a business card with only your name on it. You would have all the pertinent information to reach you, so be sure to complete your LinkedIn profile – I’m guessing more people have seen your profile than your business card.
Lack of Participation
If you go to an in person business networking event, such as a Chamber Mixer, you wouldn’t just stand on the side of the room like a wall flower. You talk to people, ask questions, offer solutions and make introductions. The same goes for social media. There are so many conversations happening on Twitter and LinkedIn, but you won’t know unless you get in on the conversation. Offer a solution, make an introduction – people will remember and it will come back to you.
One Way Communication
As a social media coach with Profitecture, I hear this problem a lot: “I post a lot of great articles on Twitter, yet no one seems to comment. I’m not really engaging. How do I fix this?” How about turning that situation around? Instead of waiting for someone to comment on your post, comment on someone else’s post or tweet. This accomplishes two things: it makes the original poster grateful to you for commenting, AND it advances the conversation and opens an opportunity for engagement, not only with the original poster, but also other people who have commented. This social media scenario reminds me of my blog post, Tips to Networking in a Room Full of Strangers. No one wants to be the one to tap someone else on the shoulder (it can be intimidating), but it creates a sense of relief for the person who has been approached – endearing them to you.
Just the facts Ma’am
At some point in the sales cycle, from original meeting to closing, people get to know each other. That means divulging a little personal information about themselves like how many kids they have, a recent vacation or hobby they love. Those little personal tidbits are the true connection points between us. It’s OK to let a little shine through on LinkedIn and Twitter – it opens the possibility of a connection with someone. I’m not suggesting we put photos of our kids on Linkedin, but it’s OK to mention that you are a mentor or coach of your child’s soccer team. Got a passion for yoga or basketball? Include it and help move people from knowing you, to liking you to trusting you. While a great LinkedIn Profile is not enough to gain trust, it can help facilitate the process.
Have you witnessed any social media behavior which made you chuckle or groan? I’d love to hear about it. Please share.