By Sandi Hunter
Before the Internet came along, people would look you in the eye and size you up based on your appearance or perhaps your handshake.
These days people judge you based on your Social Signal without possibly ever having met you. This time, there really may be no second chance to correct the wrong message.
What’s your Social Signal?
It’s the vibe, the feeling, the sense that you give off from your social media posts.
It’s your online "first impression".
That’s right, it used to be said that people made a judgement about you in the first 30 seconds of meeting you.
Now they review your social media posts on Twitter and Facebook and form an impression of you immediately and sometimes permanently.
So think about this in the context of being a business owner. Think about what you are posting or not posting, both reveal something about you and your business.
Negative posts reflect poorly on you and not just in the present. Long after you’re gone, negative, impulsive, ill-advised posts or rants can live on.
Not posting or not using social media can also be a problem.
The kinds of things you post form a picture about you, your personality, your interests, what matters to you, your ideas, beliefs and personal and business philosophies. And not just to your friends, but to the the world at large, potential employers, your neighbors, associates, customers, friends and family.
Online posts – good and bad – can last forever.
The good news is YOU can control the content. You can create the conversation. You can build a lasting positive Social Signal that conveys the right image for yourself and your company.
One of the downsides to social media is it that it’s INSTANT and LASTING. Censor your posts in consideration for the viewpoint of the reader. After-all successful business owners know that its more about your customer then just being about you. Positive, honest connections with people lead to more profitable long term business relationships and happy customers.
So what do you post to give off the right Social Signal?
Post and share, tweet or retweet positive, genuine stories, and images.
Share images of yourself, your staff, your community projects, your volunteerism, your products.
Be sensitive and thoughtful in your posts in what you say and how you say it. It’s a lot easier to take a few moments to consider the best choice of words, then it is to issue an apology – if you even get the chance.
Video sharing is encouraged for promoting your company, products and services. Videos don’t have to be ultra professional, a simple web cam will do and a sincere script will work. An honest unpolished approach is refreshing and appreciated by a smart public. Search engines gobble up video content, so produce and share good quality videos with useful content.
If you comment on other social media posts, make them positive statements, helpful, not negative.
If you have a company blog, produce useful content, images and video to both help your current customers and draw in new customers (and search engine indexers too).
If you are a business owner or consultant, make your posts about your business, present yourself as an expert, whatever it is you know about, share it.
It doesn’t matter if you are a dog groomer, or an exterminator, make your social posts work to promote a positive image of you and your services.
In the online stage, helping is not only well advised it makes good business sense. Help your customers, help your prospects, help yourself by creating a positive Social Signal.
I often hear from people who don’t see the value of Twitter, or who think Facebook is a waste of time. Ok that’s your opinion, and you are welcome to it but understand that the rest of the world IS using those services. Those people are your prospective customers, now and in the future. Those people DO use those services and want to connect with businesses using that medium. You can’t ignore this opportunity to grow your business, and reach a worldwide market that is growing and demanding more convenient communication and access. So by NOT having a Facebook account, or a Facebook Fan page for your company or Twitter account, Linked In account, Instagram account and so forth, you are missing out on business opportunities and connections with your customers. In this way NOT posting ALSO plays a role in creating your Social Signal. It sends the wrong signal to your customers that you don’t care about connecting with them, that you don’t have an online presence, and you aren’t keeping up with the times and needs of your customers. It makes your business (and you) look outdated, behind the times, unavailable, unaccountable.
So ask yourself, "What’s my Social Signal" What message am I sending about myself, or my business? How will people judge me based on my social media presence? Why not make your Social Signal and your online impression the best it can be.
About the Author
Sandi Hunter is the President and Co-Founder of Worldprofit Inc. Worldprofit provides training, support and specialized software and advertising for small and home based business owners through a Membership service.
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