WE Communications Blog: Amplified Engagement
Well, here we are at the start of a New Year, and for many of us it’s time to make those resolutions that only 8 percent of us keep. So maybe this year we should make a digital-self resolution? It might be time for a virtual makeover or make-under: a tad more savvy, perhaps, or a disciplined approach to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a plethora of other social platforms.
Today, 73 percent of online U.S. adults are active on social media according to a Pew survey. This could have a bigger impact on your life, career and social standing than cleaning out that overstuffed closet or trying to make it to that spin class. The following are some suggestions, i.e., better choices for “social media” use in 2015.
OK, this one may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many otherwise smart people and brands blast out thoughts on Twitter without pausing to consider the risk and perhaps sheer stupidity of what they’re saying. Case in point: the Steve Martin Grammar Game fiasco. Then there was Delta Air Lines’ social media team’s Twitter fail: During the past World Cup, Delta’s attempt to celebrate the U.S. team’s win over Ghana didn’t go over so well when it tweeted out a few photos that were obviously not vetted. For starters: there are no giraffes in Ghana. Delta later apologized, but the damage was done. It takes only a few seconds to compose a dumb tweet or post that cringe-worthy pic, but the damage can last much longer.
With the Delta airlines gaffe, fact checking could have shown that there are no giraffes in Ghana! Celebrities like Eminem and Morgan Freeman have been battling against the fake death hoax. Within minutes, breathless posts on Facebook and Twitter light up after someone posts a photo with the celebrity’s date of birth and then their reported death. With many high-profile celebrities’ untimely passings this past year, it was very hard to discern truth from fiction. Again be cautious before you share your RIP post.
Then there are the fake Facebook posts offering cheap airfare or free iPads, for example, that try to scam you via malicious links. Social media can spread misinformation as fast as truths. Use good old common sense, or a site like Snopes.com can be an excellent source for debunking rumors and or offers. Special note to SEO managers: You will lose credibility quickly and erode your clout when erroneous information gets posted. The need for immediate and swift retraction is always required and usually done so in a very humble way.
Sure, selfies can be fun to look at when the person is 1) wearing a costume, 2) photo-bombing with a celebrity, or 3) standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. All three simultaneously would be impressive. Alert! No one needs to see another “duck face” or a very unflattering pose in front of a dressing room mirror as you are trying on those overpriced yoga pants. Social media can be narcissistic enough, and by nature we are a society of eager over-sharers. Many employers regularly check social media, and nothing says “don’t promote or hire” faster than a “red solo cup” picture in a compromising position. Like Ron Burgundy says, “Keep it classy!”
Sure, you have waited three months for a table at that highly coveted restaurant and the food is magnificent, but interrupting your dinner to Instagram each plate is rude to your dining companions, not to mention a tad obnoxious for others sitting nearby who have to endure your camera flashes and asking “which filter looks better” questions. Stop climbing on your chair to get that better camera angle — just say no! Try limiting your food pics to special occasions or for the eating event that you must finish to earn the t-shirt.
For most of us the tagging is a form of graffiti, but in today’s social media world it’s letting others know that they are with you (or is it who you are with?). I get confused on this point sometimes. Nothing says you’re my BFF like someone tagging you in a party pic when you’ve called in sick or hey, I know your eyes are closed, your stomach is sticking out and your tongue is caressing a bottle of tequila, but it’s hilarious, right?! Right? Wrong, oh so wrong! Use common sense and be sure to ask permission before posting photos of people online. And, think twice before you share.
The word of the year according to CBS news was “overshare.”As my Grandmother always told me, “less is more.” We all love to create and share artful renderings of an Instagram photo of our kid, cat or dog and our snowy backyard, but one posting will do it, not a dozen photos in an hour. This can also be applied to rapid-fire tweeting or constant Facebook updates. Unless you’re live-blogging from a snowstorm or the Academy Awards, don’t overwhelm your friends’ feeds!
Social media experts will teach you “how to build your personal brand.” It’s true that one tweet or photo can cause angst to some, but for most it’s just going to leave them a little embarrassed and teach them how to quickly delete and remove their digital footprint. The world of communication hasn’t really changed — it’s just shifted to a faster pace, and staying in touch via social media can be a good thing. Try to be the person you would enjoy having a drink with at a cocktail party or a quick cup of coffee with between meetings. If you’re using social media only to collect likes and followers, you should really re-think those knee-jerk Twitter rants or Vines of yourself running down the street in just your boots!
Wishing everyone a great New Year and remember “stay classy” or at least “think twice,” and cheers to keeping at least one resolution in 2015.