Reputation Management From the Social Media Expert You Called Dad

Social media Gurus and experts seem to be peeking out from every bush and tree trying to sell you books and courses filled with social media advice. A little while ago I wrote a post called “Five Tips From the Social Media Expert You Called Mom”, because I felt that your Mom already taught you a lot about social media theory and interaction. But Mom didn’t raise you alone, so let’s give Dad a little credit for what he taught you about reputation management.

  1. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – When you first join a new social site, you have choices to make that will impact someone’s first impression of you. Can they see your face? Did you choose to be represented by a business logo, a sports team’s mascot, a pet, or a landscape photo? Does your profile express who you are in a creative and engaging manner? If you didn’t know you, would you want to meet you face to face? If we have interests and express them in a genuine and engaging manner, other people with similar interests will want to connect with us. If we seem self-absorbed and self-interested, others will have no interest in connecting with us and learning more about who we are.
  2. You will be judged by the company you keep – If your community is made up of multilevel marketers, or people who spend their time spamming the community with their commercial messages, people will assume that their interests reflect yours. If your community is based more on size than engagement, the lack of interaction will probably not be attractive to people who are looking to connect to others with similar interests. Its better to choose a smaller group and become evangelists for each other than to assume that people are lining up to get into an online relationship as someone’s customer.
  3. Its better to think before you speak than to speak before you think – Everything you post online, in whatever venue becomes part of a permanent record. The first introduction to you that most people will have on the internet are the aggregated things you “said” yesterday, the day before, last week, and months ago. With Facebook’s new timeline feature, many of these things are placed before your public without context, leading people to form an opinion of you that may not be what you wished, if you didn’t think first. Another good thing to remember? Abraham Lincoln’s statement – “Its is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak out loud and remove all doubt”
  4. Answer me when I ask you a question! – We live in a society where instant gratification is the norm. You build more social capital by responding to your community members. If someone shares your link, retweets your comment or likes your post, a response will build your relationship and personalize the experience. Ignore others at your peril, for they will surely respond by ignoring you when you have a need to share. Even worse, when a consumer is stressed or needs a response to a question, your failure to answer quickly and comprehensively can destroy everything you did previously to build a relationship based on trust.
  5. I don’t care who started it, You stop it! – Arguments and disagreements can happen on line, and can make emotions run high. If you find yourself in the middle of such a situation, you need to remain objective, stick with the facts, and be willing to either “agree to disagree”. If you need to take the discussion off line to come to a resolution, but being the bigger person online will only benefit your reputation online.

That’s all for now, but remember, Dad may have taught you everything you know, but he didn’t teach you everything he knows! There just might be more to come in the future….

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