Deborah Lee
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Why We Still Fail Online…

Fail Online

Having a sales background has taught me many things, the least of which is that if you want to appeal to as many people as possible then you don’t give them a reason to dislike you.

But when it comes to social media, it’s difficult when we have a strong opinion or something we need to get off our chest, right?

Of course it is. But the reality is that if you’re using social networks for business reasons then you need to reach as far and as wide as you can. And that means one thing: you need to button it.

Unfortunately there are many human traits that we can slip unwittingly into that cause others to view us in a less than amenable light. Is this unfair? Very possibly, but it’s their view, their light and their rules – not yours.

Here are a few very common habits that ultimately won’t do you any favours if you’re doing this social media thing for business purposes:

Tweeting without thinking. We all fall prey to this one from time to time, but before you’re tempted to post online how absolutely ridiculous karaoke is, consider that maybe, just maybe, one of your customers has just organised a singalong extravaganza for her husband’s fortieth surprise birthday party. I’m not sure that she was going to invite you anyway, so you can stick with your plans for reality TV and a takeaway on that night. Oh, and that’ll be no repeat business from her.

Impatience. I’m chuckling to myself as I type this, because if you knew me, you’d know how terribly impatient I can be. But I tell you this, my friends … no-one ever achieved anything on social media overnight unless they were caught leaving a night club at 4am in the morning with Prince Harry. I’ve published blog posts that bombed on first entry, but then sparked into life on re-posting a couple of weeks later. Why? I have no idea. The ways of social media, they are the enemy of impatience …

Straying onto “no-go” topics. You know the ones I mean … politics and religion are the most obvious. Whether we should bring back the death penalty is another. Even if you couch it in what seems to you to be a neutral way in order to initiate debate, it’s unlikely you’ll be seen as entirely neutral. So don’t go there.

Obstinacy. A strongly held belief that your way is the right way is a good thing … right up to the point when people start to lose interest because of your lack of flexibility. Uphold your standards by all means, but don’t refuse to budge an inch if there’s a chance you’ll be seen as unhelpful or unaccommodating.

Limiting thoughts. This is a tricky one, because often we have no idea we’re in the grip of them. To make inroads on social media you need to be regarded as the person with the answers as to why people can, not why they can’t. Dump the negativity and look to catch the positive habit as soon as possible.

Sarcasm. Had this been an Olympic sport, I would have been a triple gold medal winner at the very least. But these days I make it a strictly offline activity, because it may get you a few quick laughs but it won’t make you the darling of the majority. Whilst neutrality may be seen as boring by the sarcastic crew, it tends to weather the storm far better.

Being tempted to copy. Easier than conjuring up an original, isn’t it? Yes, but who wants to be a copy when there are already so many out there? Go unique, or go home.

Not listening. Ever noticed how you plan what to say next as the other person is talking? We all have a tendency to do it, which is a shame because it suggests that we’ve dismissed what they’re saying as being less important than what we’ve got to add to the equation. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think that tends to go down too well.

Somebody asked me recently what they should do if they simply couldn’t adopt the right persona to attract the attention they wanted on social media, but really that’s like asking how can you run a marathon without doing any training.

Nobody is asking you to fundamentally change the person you are, just make sure you change when you’re interacting on social platforms, just as you only need to train for your marathon for a few hours very week- not all week.

Social media is essentially a stage, so make sure you’re playing the right part. [Tweet this!]

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