You just know something isn’t right. They can’t look you in the eye. They act shiftily. Their smile doesn’t have any warmth in it. Their eyes are cold and calculating. It’s like a hyena grinning as it looks at a tasty morsel. Watch out!
In social media, people can’t see your body language and they can’t hear the inflections of your voice. All they have to go on are your words, which can easily be misunderstood if you’re not careful. (Especially if you have a dry sense of humor like I do.) It’s true that images and emojis can be very helpful in conveying the tone of your message. But building relationships through social media comes down to the way you use words to express yourself.
A is for Authentic.
There are three very good reasons…
- You won’t feel good about trying to be something or someone that you’re not.
- People who come in contact with you won’t feel the connection.
- You need to develop a “voice” that’s uniquely yours, which I’ll explain in a minute.
You know that relationships are built when someone gets to know you, comes to like you, and begins to trust you.
- How can they get to know you, if you’re not letting the real you shine?
- How can they like you, if you’re hiding who you are?
- How can they trust you, if you can’t trust yourself?
I know it can be hard to put yourself out there. You may be afraid. Or you may feel inadequate. Perhaps you’re an introvert who doesn’t like to be conspicuous.
Trust that being yourself will attract your ideal clients. True, not everyone will click with you. And that’s okay. With the billions of people on the Internet, you’ll surely find the ones that want to do business with you.
The bonus of being authentically is that you’ll wake up excited to connect with your community each day.
While it’s good to see what other online businesspeople are doing that’s successful for them, it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of forcing yourself to be like them.
You need to develop a “voice” that’s uniquely yours. People will come to recognize it. For example, how would you identify the people in you community? Some are comfortable with calling them “Guys and Gals.” One of my clients likes to call them “lovely ladies”. Another client prefers “women in my group” or “my clients”. Can you see the differing personalities just in these few choices? How would you describe your community?
Action item: Create two lists – One list of words you use. The other list of words you don’t feel comfortable using. For example, if you describe an article you want to share, would you use “great”, “fab”, or “awesome”? If you hate the phrase “Check this out”, what would you use instead? “See this”? “Look at”? These documents will be invaluable if you outsource your social media.
How will your words make others feel? Warm and cared for? Educated? Inspired? Entertained? (Personally, I love to make people laugh. Also, I refuse to use anything that close to profanity. I love words, and there are too many good words out their to express feelings without resorting to degrading terms that don’t dignify others. I respect the people in my community too much.)
When it comes time to outsource your social media to a manager, that person will know what words to use to “speak in your voice”. ( I strongly encourage you to keep the interacting part of social media for yourself, when you do outsource it. You’ll build stronger relationships and you’ll build them faster. Your V.A. can take the load of scheduling, creating images, and many more things we can talk about in the future.)
Over the years, I’ve “spoken” for a number of different people in their social media. In the beginning it was trial and error, running every post past them to see if it matched their way of expressing themselves. (Did you know that some perfectly good words in the United States are considered profane in Australia? I didn’t, but I do now!)
It would have been so much easier and faster if I had given them a fill-in-the-blanks document for defining the words and phrases that they were comfortable with – or not. I have one now. Is that something that you’d like me to share with you? If so, leave a request below. If I have any takers, I’ll create a spiffed up version for you by the end of this alphabet.
A could also represent:
Amiable, Approachable, Attentive, Acknowledging, Accepting, Astute, Able, Agreeable, Affable, Accomplished, Appealing
Do you notice all of these qualities make the people in your community feel good?
As Carol Rundle said in the comments of the post that introduced The Social Media Alphabet of Qualities for Building Relationships, “A is for attitude. You can’t be negative on social media. You have to keep a positive, uplifting attitude. Complainers need not apply.”
Action Item: During the course of this Social Media Alphabet of Qualities, pick out the top 5 qualities that best describe your voice. Is your voice down-home comfortable, filled with colloquialisms? Or Is your voice ultra professional and authoritative? Are you edgy and controversial? Or are you friendly and helpful?
On the other hand – A is not for…
Arrogance, Abrasive, Abusive, Annoying, Apathetic
Just a note about Arrogance: No one likes being told what to do or how to feel. Without meaning to, our posts may seem arrogant. Because people don’t have facial clues to tell them the tone of your written word, sometimes we can come across as a know-it-all or dogmatic. Framing your posts as questions is an easy way to remove this characteristic. Also the common courtesy of using “please” works wonders. Never assume you know how someone feels.
If I might vent for a moment – I have a pet peeve that’s closely connected to arrogance. It’s the canned Direct Message that’s sent when you follow someone on Twitter. You know the one I mean. “Thanks for following. As a reward (I guess, you’re being rewarded for being so smart as to recognize their genius – my thoughts in italics) here’s an eBook that will make your life better.” They don’t know what my life is like. They don’t know what problems I have, so how can they assume their eBook will fix it? It’s so much better to have a welcoming message that starts a conversation. “I’m so glad to meet you…tell me a little about yourself. What’s your favorite…?”
Did I miss any A’s good or bad? Please share them in the comments below. Then come on over to my Facebook Page where everyone is hanging out and having a good time. See you there.