The art of online communication applies to your use of social media plus any other form of online interactions you participate in (i.e. forums). It doesn’t matter whether you are there purely for social reasons, promoting your business, or both. The same principles apply.
One thing that is very obvious is that people quite often seem to forget the usual manners and courtesies that they apply to real life interactions when they are sitting behind their screen. The most common absence is the use of the words please and thank you. If you ask for help and support online, there is a high chance your request will be granted. What often happens is that a user makes a request, one or more of their contacts offers their advice or support but the original poster never returns to thank anyone for their help. In real life you’d be much more aware of the need for manners so there should be no reason to forget to thank someone who has given their time to assist you online
Visibility + Credibility = Profitability
Visibility – you have to be seen before anyone can get to know you. If you’re not participating in any form of online networking then other users will not be in a position to assess your credibility and you certainly won’t see any profitability as they won’t know you exist.
Having a website alone is not enough! How do you drive people to look at it? You may be spending a lot of money on ‘static marketing’ but the more you put yourself out there, the higher your visibility becomes.
Credibility – From the moment you start a business EVERYTHING you do reflects on your credibility as a business owner. Even the social interactions you partake in online will play some part in peoples’ assessment of your credibility as a business person. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is simple to create a good impression of your self – it boils down to where your focus lies.
Let me explain.
Think of online interactions as the equivalent of being part of a large group of random people who have come together in a social setting. Most of you will never have met before. You begin to chat and there is one person in the group who spends the whole time talking at the room, broadcasting who they are and what they do. They ignore any questions asked by others and seem to believe they are the only person in the room. How do you rate them? If you were interested in the products or services they offer, would you buy from them? NO! They may be fantastic at what they do but they haven’t given anyone in the room a chance to warm to them.
Yet online, this happens every day. There are business owners using online media purely to shout about how good they are and how fantastic their business is. Generally this comes down to time. They spend very little time online so believe the best use of that time is to broadcast. It could also be down to a lack of knowledge. They’ve likely heard that they need to get involved in online networking so they’ve set up profiles but not taken the time to understand how the respective platforms work.
So let’s look at that social setting again but in a different way.
Same group of people but this time there is one person in the room who is much more interested in listening to what everyone else has to say than they are talking about themselves and what they do. When others raise queries or state they are having difficulties in finding products or services, the engager offers solutions or passes good referrals from their contacts base. They are friendly, warm and selfless. Now the chances are you WILL want to know more about this person and you WOULD turn to them when you were in need of their products or services.
Profitability: However you measure profitability; whether in £££’s or popularity, as an engager your online interactions will be profitable. Whenever and wherever you interact online, employ the same level of manners and courtesies as you utilise in your real life interactions and your profitability will rise in line with your visibility and credibility.
–This topic formed the basis of my 10 minute presentation to my fellow BNI Reigate members yesterday, 8th February 2011
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