Seven Helpful Tips of Social Engagement/Linkedin Guides & Social Policy Guidelines

By Dede Gossage
This past weekend I received another advertising post from someone in my Facebook network. It’s not the first time I have received sales related requests in my news feed. Is it appropriate? Another question I get asked is about authentic authorship. In plain English, what if I have someone else represent me because I don’t have time as a business owner to participate in Social Media. All good questions!

It’s the repetitive nature that bothers me most. Similar to a piano that needs tuning, I find a repetitive sales push annoying and I don’t think people in my needs feed care for it either. A better use of any social platform resides somewhere between awareness (informative and/or inspirational) and engagement. I’ll soon chase off people who like my content with a consistent sales push whether it’s friend or business acquaintance.

Questions about social media dialogue and language etiquette are commonly asked by our clients at the SBDC. Language tone and usage from a business perspective creates a persona – a company personality. (As a by-line, there is current industry dialogue concerning content generation and the use of authentic authorship (using a SME – subject matter expert) vs outsourcing and anonymity relating to the future of Google Search). See Google’s Matt Cutts article and video:
http://www.virante.org/blog/2013/08/04/google-authorship-update-where-is-google-going-with-relauthor/

Before I share my tips on social language, many times we are asked for template with social media policy guidelines. If I asked permission, I could probably share the one we use at the SBDC. Instead, why not give you the farm! Here is a valuable link to numerous industries and their perspective social policy: http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php (Special thanks to Nadia Davis, CEO, ND Medica, Inc and GrowSmart attendee for sharing this list with us).

The SBDC organization is quite unique. My voice represents the Gainesville Center, but I am also an ambassador of sorts for the organization. It is important to pay attention to the tone and language use of subject matter in an open forum. For those of you who do write posts and articles, here are a few guidelines that I have developed over the past two years.

1. When in doubt, don’t. I have followed this guideline on a number of fronts, but if I have doubts about wording or content, I put on the brakes and ask a colleague, do more research or decide to go in another direction. There is usually a reason I am having doubts and I listen to that inner voice.
2. Sourcing is your friend. There are few original thoughts. Outright plagiarism will undermine your credibility. Give people credit where is due.
3. Ambassadorship. I am an ambassador of the organization’s brand. If I am a CEO, I represent my company brand. Either way, it’s not about me, it’s about the core values and beliefs and goals embodied in the culture where I work. So, I ask myself when I post, does my message clearly reflect those messages?
4. Audience. I know who my audience is and therefore my message should resonate with them. Not knowing who I am talking to is like driving blindfolded. Aimless destination without hope of return is not my goal – I want my audience to return..
5. Humor. I can’t say enough about good humor. My dad was king of this trait and I find it in many successful CEOs.
6. Take responsibility. When we get it wrong, admit it and address it right away. A disengaged/disgruntled customer can harm your brand is more ways than I could list.
7. Stay connected. Out of sight, out of mind. Irrelevant content = disinterested audience.

Finally, make sure you check out the previous post that includes a guide to using LinkedIn by author and speaker Barbara Giamanco, President of Atlanta based Social Centered Selling. Barbara was a recent guest speaker at our GrowSmart Series. She was terrific…yes, inspiring! Thanks for sharing the LinkedIn Guide and updated version with the SBDC and our clients Barbara!

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