In the world of blogging, you can use a personal blog for family and friends as a platform from which to say whatever you darn well please. Everyone has a loved one who just calls it like they see it on a personal blog (I can’t say much, I have a three-page birth story on my blog). But what about professional blog pages?
Experts say that just because social media is taking the business world by storm, doesn’t mean etiquette goes out the window – and the devil is in the details.
“In a sense, a computer is like a security blanket. People say things online that they would never say in real life,” says internet marketing expert and writer Lindsay Berger. “You wouldn’t call up a client and tell them you’re bored. Just because you feel like you can share anything on the internet doesn’t mean you should.” Consider which update you’d prefer to see on a company’s page:
- “Bossman just got rear-ended by a tweenybopper in a Fiat!” vs. “Our manager John wants everyone in the [insert company name] family to know that Interstate 500 is crazy today – be careful out there!”
Clearly the second option is your best bet. You never know if that tweenybopper is driving the Fiat that used to belong to her father…your client. Also, keep in mind that while over-the-top TMI can be bad, appearing too lukewarm and unwilling to make statements can be just as bad. Berger suggests finding a happy medium between TMI and NEI (not enough information) by making statements of a personal nature something authoritative and purposeful.
Another downfall of the TMI/NEI problem is the posting of downright boring updates.
“Instead of wasting 15 minutes every day coming up with [a boring status update], create an idea folder,” saysBerger. “Spend two hours a month visiting other blogs, collecting quotes, and writing 30 updates that help your clients. When you have a fresh source of inspiration, you’ll never write a boring status update again.”
Finally, Berger says to beware of the dreaded passive-aggressive status update. This is one to be careful of both on your professional and personal page. If a client is giving you a hard time or a coworker is grating on your nerves, you definitely don’t want to air that dirty laundry publicly.
“Believe it or not, people will figure out who you’re talking about and the situation that led to your update,” says Berger. “And, if they don’t figure it out, they’ll worry you’re talking about them.”
The only thing that could turn off a client or prospective client more than an update about your recent stomach flu or a detailed rundown of your trip to Staples for office supplies is taking a petty stab at Karen in Accounting. Don’t be “that guy!”
Remember, when it comes to managing social networking and maintaining professionalism, nothing is worse than that “blood-rush” you get the moment you realize you’ve said too much.