How many times have you read an article on a professional blog or social media network say, Linkedin for example, and you disagreed with it? Or, you’re a member of a Linkedin Group and somebody posts excessively. What is the best way for you to express how you feel and what you want to say without losing your “professionalism”? (smirk)
First, I think it’s important for people to understand what social media is really about. I am not talking about the Webster’s version; I am talking about the true meaning and use of social media and that is: interaction. Not just interaction, but informing, sharing, teaching, coaching, telling, meeting, creating, learning, searching & finding, being found, marketing & advertising, branding, and I could go on and on. The point is; social media is something different for everyone, so responding to a post with negative comments is so unnecessary and downright unprofessional.
Oh, another important term is Word of mouth advertising (WOM). According to Marketing –Made-Simple.com, WOM is the unpaid spread of a positive marketing message from person to person. It can take place directly using the human voice, or can be transmitted via any communicative means such as through the internet or via text message.WOM is a powerful promotional tool. The point is, it only takes one person to read a negative comment that you posted for your personal/professional brand or image to get tarnished.
Now, before I go into the what’s, and how’s of this article, I would like to say that I had a few recent experiences myself, but one in particular that I would like to share.
I posted an advertisement for my Social Media Branding service on a Linkedin Group. A gentleman responded negatively and I was pretty offended (I took it personal). I spoke to a colleague of mine about it, because it really bothered me (word-of-mouth/WOM). He immediately looked up the conversation (it’s not looking good for the negative commenter), and looked up the profile of the negative commenter (Bam! Over!).
While I never responded back to the negative commenter, I was later on a call with a client of mine who is a member of the same group (what? No kidding) and she asked me out of the clear blue sky if I’d happen to see the negative comment to the post I made in the Linkedin group earlier (wow). She also mentioned how unprofessional that was (not good for the negative commenter) and that she noticed that he often made negative comments on people’s posts. Okay, that was really a coincidence, but do you see how things work? And what he (the negative commenter) didn’t realize was that people (including my hiring manager client) were looking and watching. He also didn’t realize that he was hindering his job search.
Needless to say, I was very turned off by that situation, but it made me think about the many ways that could have been handled differently, and that’s what this blog post is about. It’s about the right to respond, respectfully.
I know everybody’s perception is different and tone is often hard to distinguish on the Internet, but there are many ways that you can still get your point across without “losing your professionalism”.
Listen, my mother used to always say, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” So, let’s see what options negative commenters have:
1. Don’t take it so personal. If the comment is not specifically directed to you then let it go! Turn that negative energy into positive energy and start your own conversation on a topic that you are passionate about.
2. Don’t respond at all. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
3. “Respond Privately” to the person who made the post in a very professional, respectful tone. This, my friend, is called TACT. (smile)
4. If you must create a response for the world to read and view then please respond in a professional, respectful tone.
Hey look, nobody’s trying to take away your First Amendment rights or anything like that, but whether you like it or not, the fact that you are even on a social media network means you have already established your brand. And each and every post that you make is connected to you, your name, your profile, and your brand. Your comments are searchable via Signal (a Linkedin feature) and potential employers as well as your peers are looking.
Since we have established that social media is something different for everyone, let’s talk a bit about obsessive posting. How many of you are in a good group on Linkedin, but there are one or two people who seem to have something to post every hour on the hour. Not to mention, they are posting things that you are not interested in right? You may even feel like you can’t get what you really need out of the group because of all the obsessive posting those people are doing right?
Well, let me just note, as a rule, the larger and more interactive the group, the less likely you will be annoyed by obsessive posters because more people are interacting and posting. However, if the group is smaller and you have some heavy marketers or posters in your group, then you will see it more and probably be pretty annoyed more often than never…lol!
Now, don’t respond to the last person’s obsessive message telling them “they post too much” or “they are annoying the group”. That looks really bad on your part honestly.
So, what should you do? How do you respond?
First remember, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”
1. Don’t respond at all. If it annoys you that much, send a note to the group owner. If the group owner does not respond to your liking, then respectfully leave the group.
2. “Respond Privately” to the person who made the post in a very professional, respectful tone. This, my friend, is called TACT. (smile)
3. If you must create a response for the world to read and view then please respond in a professional, respectful tone.
I will say it again, potential employers are looking, potential clients are looking, and your peers are looking and everybody is talking. When folks start talking,
Rule of thumb, we should all conduct our social media conversations in a professional, respectful tone.
Dee Williams is the Owner and Principal of Identifize Consulting which is a boutique consulting firm that was developed based on a vision of replenishing the world’s economy by uniting and educating the minds of the recruiting industry and professional job seekers alike. Identifize Consulting offers: a variety of recruiter training & coaching programs, resumes writing solutions, executive search, and personal branding services for Professionals and job seekers.
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