How to Manage Your Virtual Reputation

virtual reputation

When conducting any type of business, the use of proper etiquette and professionalism are paramount to keeping your customers happy and wanting to do business with you again. It’s important to remember that the same basic rules apply when it comes to your actions and reactions online.

Proper etiquette has been taught to us since childhood. Use your fork, not your fingers. Knock before entering a room. Say please and thank you. Social media has its own etiquette and as a business owner it’s important for you to know this so that you can maintain a favorable online presence.

Your goal with social networking is to attract as well as keep your customers. There is a certain level of work involved in creating your online presence. You want to be seen with a positive eye, and not regarded as a nuisance to those around you whom you are networking with.

When using a social networking medium, you don’t want to post just to be heard. You also don’t want your name showing up on potential client’s pages several times a day. This is considered spammy and will not leave people with a good impression of who you are and what you represent. Instead of just plugging your site, ask a question to receive feedback. Try posting a news story which may be of interest to your readers.

When people see your social media name appear, they shouldn’t feel like they have to run (or worse, try to hide you!) to escape a barrage of debate. Be prepared to lose a battle, admit when you are wrong and allow others to have their personal views. You are more likely to gain respect by lowering your guard on a topic people know you are passionate about, instead of always fighting to have the last word.

The majority of your clientele probably doesn’t stem from your social network. When you are taking time to network, have some fun while turning off the business button for awhile. Learn about what others have on their minds, what’s new and what’s not. Consider where  you might fit into the mix, and don’t think about how it will help business. Think of it as a  virtual water cooler, have fun and relax for a few minutes.

Don’t be afraid to be authentic. Social networking channels aren’t the place for the creation of different personas. By writing in your own personal way, you won’t have the hassle of trying to remember which of your personas said what to whom. Not only will it become exhausting, but it could result in you making a persona mix-up. Should this happen, you could easily lose some of your clients, as well as lose any potential clients who were lurking in wait for the perfect timing. If you have multiple projects, aiming at networking with different types of people for each one, just say so. Authenticity will help you gain the contacts you need, as well as those who are interested in what you could possibly have to offer them.

Learning how to manage your virtual reputation can be a very important tool when it comes to the business world and social media world. Learning to use it properly, as well as honestly, will result in a more positive experience for you, your current and your potential clients.

3 Simple Social Media Communication Strategies

 

3 simple social media communication strategiesWhen you’re speaking with someone face to face, it’s easy to understand what they’re saying. After all, we don’t only speak with our mouths; we actually communicate using our bodies too. When communicating in person, you can read someone’s hand gestures, body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. All of this makes it very easy to understand what the person is saying.

But in social media it’s a whole different ballgame. When you’re communicating with someone via email, forums or even webcasts it’s not always so easy to understand what the other person means, as body language and expressions aren’t available to help you understand the other person.

However, by following a few simple rules you can make communicating on social media a whole lot easier.

Write clearly. It’s often difficult to write down what is actually quite easy to say. But writing in a long-winded way can be confusing to the reader. Instead, think about what you mean to say and write in short, clear sentences. Sentences dotted with punctuation can be read in a variety of ways and may confuse the reader. Again, it’s best to stick to short, clear sentences.

It also helps to close your message with a little humor or other nicety. This will help stop your overall message from appearing dry. It’s very easy for people to confuse direct and to the point with brashness when reading.

Learn netiquette. Online there are different rules of politeness. Did you know that writing in all capitals means that you’re shouting? This is an easy mistake for a novice to make and one you’ll want to avoid. Additionally, using too many exclamation marks can make your message appear irrational or a bit over the top, too. And on the other hand, very overly direct sentences without the use of humor may appear harsh or unemotional. Try to strike the balance between using expressive punctuation like exclamation marks and not using them at all.

You can also use emoticons online to express how you’re feeling. A happy face at the end of a direct message can make a big difference to the overall impression of the reader. However, if you’re writing in a more professional manner or would like your message to be taken seriously, too many emoticons, such as happy faces, may make you appear unprofessional or someone not to be taken seriously. Again, it’s all about striking the right balance.

Explain yourself. Particularly when dealing with colleagues and subcontractors, it’s important for them to know right from the start that when you’re writing a business message you may do so in a very direct way. Ask them not to take it to mean anything other than what is written on the message.

This is a particularly effective strategy when dealing with virtual helpers such as writers or VAs. You simply may not have time to include a chatty message with each and every email. Explain that your direct messages donít mean that you’re upset or anything – you’re just communicating about the job at hand.

These three rules will hopefully help you avoid many pitfalls of online communication. It also helps to keep in mind that sometimes you may read a message differently to what the writer intended. It’s always best to approach these situations with caution by simply asking the writer to please explain what they meant. The worst thing to do would be to go with guns blazing and then realizing that you actually misunderstood their message!