I have to start today’s tip with a HUGE scoop that you probably haven’t about yet heard in the news.
YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are joining together in the mega-merger of the century. The new entity is to be called:
Kind of how I feel about social media.
Okay, full confession: I don’t like it very much.
I don’t like scrolling through facebook, Instagram, and all the other usual suspects.
Responding to everyone’s posted minutiae feels like a new part time job.
What do I care what kind of muffin you had for breakfast? Or that I knew you 15 years ago, and you just went to the park with your kids in North Carolina? I mean good for you, but I’ve got a job and actual friends and family that need attention too!
Having said that, this year I hired an excellent young digital marketer (thanks Vikram!) who has taught me some things about having an online presence.
It’s important. Even if you don’t have a million followers and aren’t ever going to be ‘an influencer.’
I think of an online presence like a brick and mortar store front. What the front of the store looks like matters to all the people who drive by the store every day. And, one day they may need what I sell. When they do, I want them to think of me first. Even if I don’t have a business, people will get to know me based on what I post.
So here are some of the rules I’ve learned:
SOCIAL MEDIA RULE 1: Is the online you someone who you would like to spend time with?
Here’s who I don’t want to spend time with:
- Someone who constantly humble-brags about themselves. As in, “I’m soooo humbled to have been chosen for the 5th time as best person ever in my industry.”
Okay, good for you that you won an award. But be honest, you’re not humbled. You’re proud of yourself, and in this moment, Lucifer couldn’t hold a candle to you. Just state your achievement. It’s good for us to know you’re good at what you do. But don’t tell us every time you post.
- People who are negative, cutting, or mean spirited
When I see someone on social media willing to post a snot-a-gram or have a public fight with someone else, they’ve just self-selected as someone I want to avoid. I’m not looking for cynicism, sarcasm, or mean remarks.
My subdivision has a renowned facebook page where people take it in turns to post something even MORE cutting and mean to their neighbors than the last person did.
Some of the posts stagger the imagination.
Like when one of my elementary age kids was labelled a ‘snowman assassin’ once (YES, IT WAS OUR FAMILY, BAHAHAHA!!) and another time a lady was told to ‘slither off her throne’ because she had a question about recycling. It’s actually quite hilarious and I do get a twisted kind of kick out of it.
Suggestion: If you wouldn’t say it to their face in public, don’t do it online either.
Only chickens throw grenades from the safety of their caves.
Rule 2: Always add value to someone’s life
That’s who I like. People on social media who have taken the time to help me with something.
I have my online sources that I go to again and again. Because they help me and build into my life, even though I’ve never met most of them.
They give me political and spiritual advice, teach me how to play guitar, entertain me with their amazing skills, and even show me how to fix my broken dishwasher.
I owe some of these folks a huge debt. So, I’m always happy to see what they’ve posted. Aren’t you?
I forget who it was who said, “If you help enough people get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want.”
Rule 3: Be a lifter, not a leaner
Leaners bring people down.
Lifters bring them up and make them feel better about themselves and their lives.
I try to remember that everyone. Everyone. Is fighting a battle somewhere.
The people that ‘have it all together’ are fighting a battle that you don’t know about. Battles include:
- Health problems
- Money problems
- Mental health challenges
- Impossible relationship street fights that they don’t know how to fix
- Problems with kids, parents, siblings, and friends
- Grief and loss
And on and on.
Our words matter so much. Words build cities and start wars. They cause people to grow and flourish, and they also cause despair and hopelessness.
A kind and encouraging word on social media can mean the difference between life and death.
That to say, encourage people with your online presence and they’ll want to read about you more and more.
As Viktor Frankl said in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” the greatest need of any human being is to know that their lives have meaning. That what they do matters.
So, build your online presence. And be a person online that you would like to count as a friend.
Getting ahead is about getting started,
*This is a joke. DO NOT INVEST IN YouTwitFace.com stock.
Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.” He is also co-founder and senior instructor at professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://professionalleadershipinstitute.com/
Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068