Social media channels are wonderful communication tools from which we can learn from others’ thought leadership, experiences, beliefs, motivations and passions. Each page we create on our website has its own visiblity, thanks to Google, but can achieve greater visual impact by posting to social media channels.
This revelation can be either a positive or negative experience, depending on the person utilizing these means. I’ll explain.
In the past year, more and more people are taking to social media to post some of the most hateful, hurtful, and harmful messages I’ve ever read or care to read. Quite a few have had little to no provocation and were resolved with either suspending or firing the poster.
As a small business owner, you must have either guidance or control over posts about your company by employees, contractors, suppliers or partners. I prefer guidelines vs. control, personally. I would rather positively encourage than negatively micromanage and discourage posts. This brings out some of the best posts I’ve read, because employees, et. al., have been given freer rein to explore not just their expression, but their own thought leadership as well.
So, why, then, are people paying the price for this with their jobs?
When I post one of my blog articles, or just make a post, it’s my viewpoint. Now, to that argument, as a solopreneur I can do that – no harm, no foul. However, if I were to go to work for another business, my comments could be construed as views representative of that company as well. This is what trips people up.
For example, if your company is working on a new product or service, you wouldn’t want to post about that and tip the hand of the competition, right? The same goes for “on the fly” posts you haven’t talked about with your employer and could become a pain point for the business.
Back in 2012, you may remember reading about a former CFO of an Tucson, Arizona business who was fired after ranting at a Chik-Fil-A employee in the drive-thru. No, he wasn’t upset about his chicken sandwich; rather, he was upset over the founder’s views on a particular topic during an interview. This business professional drove to the nearest Chik-Fil-A, ranted in the drive-thru and videotaped the entire monologue, then uploaded it to his YouTube channel after he got back to work.
I just Googled the reference: as of early 2015, the man was still unemployed and on food stamps.
Here are a few quick post tips:
- Breathe. Your post needs to be timely, but don’t get caught up in the moment and make a rash, improper judgment call.
- Read it twice. Don’t look for just grammatical errors; how will the post will feel to your readers?
- Stick to the facts. People should absolutely post their passions, but, be careful this doesn’t spill over too much into your words, lest you wander off into the weeds of the “I don’t know” zone. Worse, readers may think you’re arguing with them instead of conversing.
- Words have meaning. Is your post satirical? Mean-spirited? Theoretical? Would you say it like that to a person, in person? Would you want them to say it back to you?
- Teach. What we pass on to the next generation can be gold or dung – the choice is ours.
- Ask for an opinion. Another set of eyes as a reality check may save embarrassment.
What will your next post be written about? Choose your words wisely.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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