Last week I talked to you about the kinds of things you can talk about on social media – and today, I’d like to talk to you about the kinds of things you SHOULDN’T talk about on social media.
“Authenticity” is a term that gets used a lot in the online world, we talk about how we all need to be honest, put it all out there, be ourselves and share our stories with the world. Mostly, I agree with this and I especially think it’s important for small business. Our customers LOVE to hear the story behind the business. Did you know that the “About” page is the second most read page on any website (after the home page)? When we own a small business we can’t help but let our personality come through in our emails, our social media updates and to some degree our product. I’m fairly sure nobody would say that my style in real life or in cake is girly and delicate! That being said, no, I don’t think we should let it all just hang out there for the world to see.
So how do you balance “being yourself” with being professional?
Whenever I’m not sure if I should share something – which is often as I am notorious for having a big mouth – I ask myself one simple question:
If this person were to walk in to my store, would I say this out loud to them?
That’s it. Is what you’re about to say online something you would say to a real human standing right in front of you? If the answer is, “no,” then there’s your answer – don’t post it. If your answer is, “Yes,” then go ahead. If your answer is, “I might, but I’m worried they will be offended. I’m really not sure,” then my advice is to keep that one to yourself and find something else to talk about OR find another way to word it so it’s not offensive. Sure, some people get offended at very small things and you can’t please them all … but we all know to avoid the bigger topics of sex, drugs, and politics when it comes to our small business pages.
I really think that question should apply to everything you do online, be that posting on your business page, commenting on a forum, posting a picture and so on. Yes, we all love to have a rant and a snark and a whine, and there are places where that’s totally reasonable and appropriate. I’m not the Fun Police. I just think it’s high time we started seeing one another as people not just faceless people behind a keyboard. So when it comes to your social media (especially for your business) I just want you to remember this: