To Share or Not to Share: Consider These Questions Before Posting on Social Media

The flurry of social media activity during and after the recent U.S. presidential election has prompted a lot of us to reconsider how Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activities reflect individual reputation.about-6-in-10-americans-get-news-from-social-media

Then there were the reports of fake news – sensational and otherwise – designed to sway public opinions. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been slow to recognize the responsibility associated with the fact that two-thirds of users of his site get news from it (and that some of it is blatantly false, defamatory or hate-filled) even though it isn’t a traditional media outlet.

Ninety-nine percent the news that comes across my social media feeds meets my expectations of professional communication. But recently, some of it has been surprising. I don’t know whether to attribute it to algorithms or to decisions made by individuals.

Which has made me reconsider my own criteria for professional posts. I use LinkedIn and Twitter for work, but leave Facebook strictly for friends and family. I also work alone, so I don’t exactly have a social media policy.

It boils down to three priorities:

  1. Is it newsworthy? The noise on Twitter and LinkedIn feeds often feels chaotic to my introvert mind. If the information isn’t unique or fresh, I won’t share it. And, as with any news posted on any media, it needs to be factual.
  1. Is it helpful? If it can be used to genuinely help one of my connections, it makes the cut. If it is a pithy quote in a pretty picture or if I say “so what” after reading a LinkedIn article, it doesn’t. I also prefer to share information with some amount of depth.
  1. Does it further my brand? Social media activity should reflect professional values and identity as much as any other communications. It’s worthwhile to convey “who I am” through the information that I share and the people I engage with.

My social network tends to be sceptical of professionals who reveal too much personal information. Most of them manage risk for a living and are somewhat conservative by nature; they have specific expectations of what I will share or recommend.

If I am going to surprise my connections with a post, I’d rather it be one that adds a relatable, respectable dimension to my brand than one that would cause them to question my judgment.

Moral Outrage and Social Media: The Perfect Storm

Cecil the Lion has dominated world headlines since the announcement of his killing at the hands of American dentist Walter Palmer. Cecil’s death has brought the controversial practice of trophy hunting, the serious issue of poaching and the concerns of the animal conservation movement into the spotlight.

Cecil the Lion (source: Wikipedia)

Read more

Post-Vacation Productivity

Summer vacations give us time to relax, recuperate and reconnect. But eventually we also have to deal with reality.

If you’ve ever sat at your desk trying to recall what it was like to spend the morning reading a novel instead of an opinion letter, here are a few ways to ease your transition back into work mode.

Before you leave

  • Jot down a to-do list sorted by priority and deadline that you can refer to when you return.
  • Communicate clear expectations about your availability while away. Some lawyers refuse to create vacation alerts, lest clients or colleagues think they’re human. Don’t fall into this trap – you won’t relax and you’ll likely annoy the people you’re on vacation with.
  • Avoid setting up appointments on your first day back. This gives you time to deal with the unexpected and to prioritize your workload.
  • Filter email newsletters, subscriptions and social media alerts to specific folders in your inbox. It will ease information overload while you’re away and when you return by ensuring that essential communication reaches you before any other type of message.

Read more

5 Benefits of a Social Media Sabbatical

Have you ever wanted to cease and desist from all social media communication? I have. And I did. Here’s what happened…

…well, actually, nothing happened. Despite dire warnings from bloggers proclaiming the “10 online activities you must do every day to build a valuable personal brand”, nothing bad actually happened. Actually, my business grew.

The benefits of a social media sabbatical Read more

Is it Time for a Social Media Sabbatical?

By the end of each year, most of us need a break from the onslaught of information available on our phones, tablets and computers. I’ve planned to take a carefully planned mini-sabbatical from online activity during the next few weeks.

Why a social media sabbatical is a good idea for professionals Read more

8 Ideas to Boost Social Media Engagement

“Is anybody out there?” Have you ever looked at your social media statistics and wondered if you’re all alone online? It may seem like your online community is active, but is it interactive?

The good news is that you’re not alone. Most of your colleagues have probably asked the same question. The bad news is that you’ll need to move beyond your comfort zone if you want to break away from the silent online majority. Read more

Misquoted in the Media? Set the Record Straight.

Being interviewed for a news item or feature story on your area of expertise is a great way to build a professional reputation. It looks good in a Google search. It associates your esteem with that of the publication. And you can refer to the coverage in marketing materials without sounding self-aggrandizing.

But what if you’re misquoted?

As reporters rush to meet deadlines and editorial departments dwindle, your erudite articulation might come across as an arcane patois. Read more

Having Fun with Nostalgic Marketing

What is it about summer that makes us so nostalgic? I spend a lot of time between June and September wishing I was hanging out with friends or family in Saskatchewan (where I grew up), even though I have a perfectly nice life in Vancouver. I’ll respond positively to almost any marketing message reminding me of long, carefree days where my only concern was to have fun.

Nostalgia has a special place in marketing and public relations. It appeals to our need for safety and security. It helps us feel connected to each other. And it reinforces our identity. Read more

A Bill of Rights for Professionals Using Social Media

Client: “Do I really have to do this?”

Me: “No. But…..what do you have to lose?”

Client: “My pride? My reputation? Billable time? I mean…what if people think I don’t have anything better to do?”

If we could build business by letting our work speak for itself, many of us would. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option anymore. Clients need to find you in the places where they’ll look for someone with your expertise. Including social media. Read more

Why schedule social media activity? Because it works.

Professional services brands need to be both credible and visible to be successful. Regular, well planned social media activity is one way to accomplish this. At least that’s what I tell my clients. In June, I decided to put my advice to the test.

Like my clients, I need to make the most of the time I spend building my reputation. Doing nothing is not an option, but neither is spending hours on Twitter. Read more