Monday, October 15, 2012

Why not try being the same person on all social networks?

Are you always who you really are? I know, it's a silly question. Of course you are. But think again. Do you post in a different way on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? Many people do, since the advice from "experts" is that you should treat different audiences in different ways. I'd tend to agree, if it wasn't for the fact that the people I know on LinkedIn are often the same people I know on Facebook and Twitter. OK, I can hear you muttering "Come on Alan, LinkedIn is for business networking. It's full of serious business people. Those guys don't want to know that I just enjoyed watching X Factor, or that I finished 3,478th in the Great North Run".



I beg to differ. People do business with people they like. More often than not, the first few minutes of any business meeting are taken up with what is wrongly called "small talk". In fact, this apparently idle chat about holidays, shared friends and experiences is the social glue that holds society together. We do need to get down to the serious stuff, but not until we feel comfortable with the people we're getting serious with.

Provided you lead a fairly blameless life (you do, don't you?), than sharing your photos of family barbeques and tweets from rock concerts is not going to lose you any business. Quite the reverse, in fact. I used to find it was quite stressful to remember what sort of content I could post where. Can I put a blog about business strategy on Facebook? Can I mention a great film on LinkedIn? Is it OK to have a conversation about business in the public Twitter stream? In just about every case, I now think the answer is "yes". Sure, you wouldn't breach any confidences, or make personal remarks, but that's always been the case.

So here's an idea. Why not, just for a day or two, not worry about what content you post to what social network. Just be yourself. You may be surprised to see that the reaction is positive, and good for business too.

3 comments:

Emma Sutton said...

This post really got me thinking... One of the reasons I left a career as an engineer was not feeling I was able to be myself, so started my own business.

I worry about boring business contacts (funny how even the word suggests they are not the same as my 'friends'!) with stuff about my life, rather than realising how important it is to create relationships that are honest and open...

Time to rethink my strategy....

Guy Clapperton said...

I agree with what you say although I'd have to add it's easier for us as self-employed people than it would be for, say, a member of staff somewhere, who's going to be perceived as "Alan from IBM" rather than "Alan" depending on where he's posting.

For those of us who control our own destinies it's a great idea.

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