Don’t Blog – Tweet – Post – Facebook This – The List

Seems a bit ridiculous to say this as we’re all chatting away happily being oh so friendly, but sometimes it’s a good idea to remind oneself of the really obvious.
Although it’s very tempting and it’s so easy to do, there are some things you shouldn’t say using Social Media (probably shouldn’t even say any of these at all, in any format).  Because, ALWAYS  remember once you put it out there, there it is
1.  Don’t complain about your customers on Twitter. They are listening. Very silly to have a moan because if you’re Tweeting/Google+ing/Facebooking for business, you’re really hoping they are paying attention!
2.  Anything defamatory – you can get sued.  Remember to be nice or leave.  Because if what you say is really bad, well then they can make you pay.
3.  Money stuff – What you make, what you spend, where you bank etc.  Why don’t you just give us access to your money?  Some unscrupulous fellow would love to collect these tidbits about you, eventually getting the whole picture.
4.  In business disclosing conflicts of interest. Do you want to stay in business? And why did you get involved if there was a conflict anyway?  What kind of business are you running?!
5.  Your schedule.  Yes, let the burglars know the best times to break in.  They wouldn’t want to be disturbed.
Be savvy and sharp and keep your followers
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
6.  Other people’s stuff (unless it’s really relevant to you and you have asked permission) – it’s not your news to share.
7.  Too many details about your kids.  Include them yes, but be prudent.
8.  Don’t get defensive about negative criticism of your company or products. Deal with any complaints more appropriately.
9.  Don’t share anything people can use against you because someone might and you, the Bozo, gave them the ammunition!
10. That you’re having an affair, think about having an affair, know some else who is or is thinking about it. Same for embezzling, stealing a car, working on your own version of the Italian Job etc.
11.  The online world doesn’t need to know if you have a problem with a coworker or your boss.  Be a grown up and deal with them directly.
12. Don’t spam your friends and followers.  Actually, don’t spam anyone!
13. Bodily functions – why would we want to know?
14. Family dramas. It’s not just about you and it’s really not our business.
15. How much you can drink or did drink – same for drugs.
16. That you are planning to lie to someone/ take a sick day/ do anything really stupid that will adversely effect your reputation. Seriously are you 5?
Show a little respect and love online
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
17. Hint at your passwords.  You never know who’s paying attention.
18. Spread insults, lies, and rumors about friends, family or colleagues.  If you wouldn’t say it to their face don’t say it at all.
19. Tell the world you’re going on holiday. Brag about it when you get back instead. Oh and post up a few pics 🙂
Don’t think hiding behind a cleverly named anonymous avatar makes any of the above OK.  What goes around does come around.  Just you wait.
Even after all this, I’m sure you’ll find something fascinating to share online.
Keep smart and keep safe.
And keep your friends, family and followers!

Choosing Wisely – The 5 Most Effective Social Media Platforms For Small Businesses

Social Media is a band wagon we’ve all jumped on because you can’t miss out on an opportunity to promote your business and engage with your customers.
Time and money are always issues when managing small and medium enterprises, which means the cliche “work smarter not harder”,  is more true.  When it comes social media, you’ll have to develop some smart tactics, because it’s not “an instead of”,  it’s an “as well as”.  You’ll need to add social media to whatever other marketing strategies you currently have.
But honestly who has time to do it all?  Don’t worry, you don’t need to. You just have to choose your “demons” carefully and wisely.  And there are a lot of “demons”. Just take a quick look at the latest list of social media networks from Wikipedia. Don’t despair.  You don’t need them all.
Get people knocking at your door
with an integrated Social Media strategy
Malta – 2004

Here are my top five. All – you still have to choose – essential to any SME’s marketing arsenal.

1.  Obvious first choice is  your website – Top of the list because everyone has one now so you have too.   It’s practically prehistoric not to have one.  Your website is your big “Hello, I’m over here. Nice to meet you. Let’s do business”.  You’ll use all other social media applications to drive traffic to your website and therefore to you.

2.  Second contender is Twitter because it’s a easy platform to use (a bit harder to use well and do make the effort). It’s extremely flexible as you can tweet when you have time and you don’t have to commit huge chucks of time to it.  Tweeting can be done as and when necessary – but of course consistently and with purpose. 
You can also automate tweets but do be careful not to alienate your clientele.
You can get up and running with a Twitter account relatively quickly. Be sure to use a Twitter management system to optimize your account. My preference is Hootsuite (primarily for its mobility as it’s a web based application).  Tweetdeck and Seesmic are other options.
3.   Your blog. These are an excellent marketing tool because you can describe your product and services (or whatever you wish) in greater depth. A blog will take more effort on your part to develop and will take a longer time to find its audience.4.  Google+.  My new favourite place.  Brilliant for us organised types who love to put things into boxes (or Circles) and it’s great for finding people/groups with similar interests.  Personally I love its visual nature.  I can see interesting (or not so interesting) posts from my contacts and make immediate decisions about what to do next with minimal effort.

Use Social Media effectively
to bring people to your door
Lille, France – 2008
5.  Facebook BUSINESS page – I emphasize Business Page as Profiles are for people and not designed for promoting businesses.   Please stop using your personal for your business.  I’m one of those people who keep my personal and business Facebook pages separate.  If you don’t use Business pages, I won’t “Like” you.  I’m not alone.

  I’ve recently moved away Facebook as there are serious concerns about this platform. Also there is only so much time and time spent on Facebook for me isn’t as valuable as time spent elsewhere.

The good news is you can often feed one Social Media tool into another.  The more you link up your resources the tighter and more effective your presence on the Internet will be.

For example – You can feed your website and blog links and your news into Facebook, but don’t include your Twitter feed.  Facebook is for longer, less frequent articles and people are put off being bombarded with tweets, which should be more prolific.  Tweets are very much the advertising/announcement of “it’s happening now”.   Facebook links have a longer lifespan and people will spend more time reading these pages.  Your Business page will take longer to find and establish its audience than your Twitter following. BUT (big but) be careful not to be overly repetitive.  Repeat some of your content across your Social Media platforms BUT ensure you offer something unique in each place.
Final note – it’s worth investing some time in establishing your branding and ensuring that your identity is coherent and homogeneous; making social media a part of your complete package.
This is more than enough to get you started.
Good luck

Be Nice or Leave – Manners Matter Even When They Can’t See You

 Preamble to Tirade

I’ve been online for about 20 years now (hey librarian here, as the original keepers of information we were one of the first to get all this good stuff), and have been heavily engaging with Social Media for about 5 years.  The majority of people I interact with online have been family, friends, clients, colleagues but since my plunge into Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my own websites etc., there’s the eventual possibility of everyone on who’s online anywhere – well maybe not everyone.
I have excellent Customer Service skills.  As a librarian and Canadian,  I genuinely mean it when I ask if I can help, and I can tell you to have a nice day with complete sincerity (hmmmm maybe not complete sincerity, but it sounds like it ☺).  Not that I’m a pushover, I chose a profession that provides service to others so it helps to be friendly, and I grew up in a fairly well-behaved place where most people are quite polite (until they get on their ice skates and you give them a stick).  Not that it’s Eden, of course there are rough edges, but mostly, we just get along.  No, it’s not a bland place either, it’s a lot less hassle to be polite so we can get on with our own thing.
OK, so you get the picture. I’m friendly, polite, respect other people’s space/ideas etc. I’ve worked in service for 30 years (including too many years as a waitress while at university and other naff, but terribly important jobs), volunteered, lived abroad and globe trotted extensively so I have quite extensive experience of human behaviour.
And before I launch into my diatribe, I will emphasize – most people are really, really nice, decent and completely unlike the losers I’m will be haranguing on about next!
Your choice!
Provence, France – 2007
Rhino painter unfortunately unknown
The Tirade
Shift formats and remove the human interface to enter the online world. 
Why, oh why do some people think it’s acceptable to become the playground bully and start playing nasty? 
Who are you and where do you get off!!!!!?
I know there are examples of bad behaviour everywhere in “real life”.  Even in the playgrounds of Canadian librarians but it’s not the norm.
Get online and it’s rife with mean spirited entities (I use entities, as some of these culprits aren’t even people, they’re bots written by some cretinous individual).  I’m not even going to start on spam, scams and emails from long lost relatives in deep, dark places.
My tirade here, is about plain ordinary, uncivil, incredibly boring rude behaviour from those small-minded individuals who abuse Social Media and are hurtful more than harmful.
A couple of examples:
1.  Unliking your Facebook page because you won’t be their “friend”
2.  Announcing on Twitter that they are #unfollowing you because you are boring/stupid/insert descriptive word of choice here
3.  Stalking you and tell you off for “unfriending” “unfollowing” “unconnecting” from them 
4.  Editing a tweet and then Retweeting it as the opposite of what was intended
5.  Sarcastic comments anywhere, with no attempt at irony or wit, just mean
6.  Ambushing an online conversation so it becomes all about them and their agenda
7.  Just plain telling tales
Honestly, what’s your point?
Rude behaviour on Twitter has become so prevalent that there is a term for a Twitter abuser – Twanker – “(noun) a person, organization, or company who uses bad form on or exhibits bad behavior on Twitter.”
Of course this term has since been “rebranded” or highjacked and is now cool in that anti cool way they have now.  You can’t even behave badly on Twitter without making it some kind of marketing ploy!
There’s a lot of serious online chat and research into this “rudeness” phenomena and why it’s so common in Social Media.  I’ll mention one article here:
I think the most interesting point is “moral disengagement.” The safer someone feels (i.e. anonymously hiding behind a computer), the more distance they have from the consequences of their actions, the easier it is for them not to care.
Fortunately, I have very little regard for the feelings of bullies and small-minded, mean-spirited individuals so I use the tools Social Media has given me.
Until you play nice I will continue to:
    – Moderate all the comments on my blog
    – Block
    – Report uncivil behaviour
    – Unfriend
    – Unconnect
    – Unfollow 
    – Uncircle
    – Delete, exterminate, get rid of in all its guises!
And mostly—-IGNORE
Because I do realise the bullies out there are only seeking attention.
Do you have any experience with online bores and bullies and what tips do you have to deal with it?  I’d love to hear your ideas.
Thanks for listening
A rose for the really, really nice people
i.e. most of you
Church Stretton, UK – 2009