Your Social Media Behavior is Hurting You!
Your behavior on social media can hurt your business, leadership, influence, and even destroy personal relationships. No I’m not overstating it. Today’s social media world seems filled with so-called trolls, toxic personalities, and people who just love to rant online. Are you one of these people?
The man came into my office with his eyes filled with tears and his voice filled with anger. He couldn’t believe that his own family would, in his words, ‘turn on him like this.’ His family had finally confronted him in his addictions and compulsions. His alcohol use was destroying both him and his family. It had already cost him his career. His loving family had held an intervention. They pointed out as lovingly as possible just what his behavior was doing to him, to his family, and what they feared would happen if he continued drinking. But he was still in denial. He couldn’t see how his behavior was resulting in these consequences.
I see similarities between that story and many people’s online behavior. Business might be hurting. Influence is waning. Friendships aren’t as close as they once were. Even family relationships may be fractured. And while there may be plenty of non-social media reasons for those realities, there may also be a direct link to our online social media behavior.
So here’s the main point: What you say and do online will have offline consequences.
Business may be hurting because your colleagues, current and potential clients, and even your boss have seen how you behave online and now they question whether they can trust you.
People who used to come to you for advice and counsel may have started to avoid you because they see a disconnect between the advice you give them and they way you behave online. Your influence has waned.
Your political rant, and it matters little whether you are right or wrong, has caused friends and family to distance themselves for you. Or maybe even break off the relationship altogether.
So I’ll say it again, what you say and do online will have offline consequences.
I’ve put together some ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ for social media behavior. I hope they are helpful for you. If you are going to have a social media presence these are some basic concepts to remember:
Watch your tone / Don’t scream!
Tone is difficult to communicate in the written word. You may think what you have written is gentle, or funny, or just plain common sense, and it may be heard by your readers as condescending or even angry. Be careful and intentional with your tone. And by all means, please remember that using all caps is considered shouting. All caps is not a way to emphasize your point; it’s like walking up to someone and screaming in their face. Don’t do it!
Post frequently / Don’t spam!
If you are going to have an online presence, especially in social media, you have to post frequently. There is a fine line here to not cross over. Don’t post so much that it feels like spam.
Be genuine / Don’t be disrespectful!
Be who you really are; be genuine, be appropriately transparent, be respectful. Don’t be disrespectful. Look, even if the other person states something you find offensive, or just plain ‘stupid’ don’t respond disrespectfully. Remember, social media is a public forum and people who are not a part of the particular conversation are watching how you conduct yourself.
Get feedback / Don’t go dormant!
Ask questions! Have actual conversations. If it occurs to you that another person may have misunderstood a comment you made, ask them. Apologize if appropriate. They will tell you. And don’t go dormant. Don’t just quit. The world, and this includes business, church, leadership, etc… is connected online. You cannot afford to just leave it. Stay engaged.
Respond / Don’t ignore!
This is a personal pet peeve of mine, especially for businesses and leaders, if someone asks you a question or directs a comment to you: respond. Engage the conversation and don’t ignore them. This will become a part of your reputation both online and offline.
I have put together a PDF format of this that you can download:
Some questions for you:
– How have you experienced these behaviors in social media?
– What do you need to change about your own behavior on social media? And what will you do to change your behavior if you need to do so?
– What would you add to this list above?