5 Tips to Communicating in an Anything-Goes Virtual World …
and maybe earning some loyalty along the way…
I just love it when newbies come to the block declaring their omnipotence on anything and everything about social media netiquette. Oh yes, you have squarely met them at one time or another. They show up on your page or wall after stalking the scene for several days, weeks and months…maybe even a year or so and now he or she is the expert on web 2.0 communications – both personally and professionally.
It never ceases to amaze me just how many of these social crickets now peruse the netwaves. And it isn’t just the community chirpers on the playing field, there are also the so-called social media maharishis who claim to know precisely how to frame your online business campaign because he just got trained at ACME school for social media biz netiquette… hold on – not so fast! Let’s take a few steps back and get the scoop on what constitutes quality or not-so-quality communications on Facebook…and beyond:
- First, there are NO “rules” on Facebook. Other than the Terms of Facebook, no one individual or company has the “right” to determine the limits of free speech. The choices that we do have include limiting who or what we allow onto our own “walls”. For example, if we do not “like” an individual or what he or she has to say, we have one of a few choices: we can “unfriend” them, block them, delete them, “hide” their posts, or just choose to ignore their posts. I think the whole concept, however, was for us to engage each other. So if we “friend” others just to “shun” them because we happen to not like one or two things he or she may have to say, then I guess the purpose is moot. And this point kind of reminds me of the two kids playing in the sandbox. One has the toys, the other does not. One gets angry and decides to take his sand toys home with him because he is not playing anymore. Folks, Facebook is just Facebook. Get over it. People are going to say nonsensical things, vent or even go on rants in an anything-goes virtual reality – it’s not personal. Let it go. The sandbox is big and we should all really play nice together without being overtly picky and rude.
- Second… when did Facebook become high school? Okay, I watched “The Social Network” and I realize that Facebook was truly conceptualized and created for college students. But it became something bigger…something bolder…something more far reaching than ever could be imagined by Zuckerberg and his cohorts. I think, however, Zuckerberg understood the nature of the beast and saw the potentiality and profitability of his endeavors – after all, he is a genius first. It has become THE NETWORK among all networks. Anyone who is anyone is on Facebook. Lady Gaga boasts 42,000,000 “likes” on her Facebook wall, not to mention the fact that companies like Coca Cola get it – and with over 33 million fans, I must say they have it down to an art. So why would we as adults (mostly, anyway) take this gift (and yes, it is a gift because it is after all, FREE to use) and spin it into something like a rumor mill? He said, she said, they said … and the list goes on and on. Unless someone is personally attacking you and threatening physical violence upon your person, who cares what he said, she said, they said? Again… let me reiterate: IT IS FACEBOOK – anything goes. Just look at Lady Gaga’s page, I don’t think there is anyone less outspoken or verbose online today. J (Unless you count Anthony Weiner, but I think he went in an entirely different direction with his “tweets”.)
- Third…here today, gone tomorrow. In the real world, most of us have separate lives from Facebook (and Twitter). Yes, we love being online – it is fun and engaging! But we cannot be online 24/7. It is not humanly possible. Try as we might, we can only answer so many emails. We can only respond to so many posts. We can only respond to so many comments. It is not that we do not care or we have chosen to stop “liking” our pals on Facebook, it’s just that sometimes we have to eat, go to the restroom, bathe, work, and do other routine life things. (Personally, I like to sleep, too.) If we do not respond right away, please don’t go away angry or repost a gazillion times that we need to check our inbox or wall for your latest posting. Chances are we have but we just have not had the time to respond. It’s a living thing.
- Fourth…but my business depends on it. You are absolutely right. Facebook can make or break your business. How are you using it? If all you are trying to do on Facebook is sell, sell, sell, sell…chances are, you are probably not going to get a whole lot of new fans. If you have the right light-hearted dialog, coupled with the right campaign to set a spark in the masses, you may just get a viral wildfire started. Also remember that people are people – we love free information and free stuff. The more we can get, the better we feel. If we get a sense that you are “listening” to us, engaging us, and putting us first over your products and services, chances are that you are going to gain a customer for life and in the end, we’ll probably buy your “stuff” just because you’re the coolest cat (and not just the fat cat) on the block and we “like” you. Oh yea… I really do like Chester Cheetah, too! Psst…he’s got over 500,000 fans! Wow!
- Finally…be the conscientious observer. Be aware to those around you. Listen to what those around you are really saying. Maybe, just maybe, they want to vent. Perhaps they are just being silly and posting a random word or phrase – believe me, it is not that uncommon. Maybe, you will be the one to spot the trend. Perhaps there is a paradigm shift happening right before your eyes and you can clearly see it happening because you have taken the time to take the backseat to watch and “listen” to what others are saying. Sometimes silence is the ultimate peacemaker. It works. Even on Facebook.
Do you REALLY know Facebook?
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