I heard an incredible sermon recently about the tongue having the power of life or death and the impact of words in social media. It's so important for us to use our posts to empower rather than destroy. Social media is so influential and you never know how the messages you put out on it are strongly influencing others. Rather than using it to tear down people, why not use it to point out the absolutely amazing things in life and to encourage others? While this may seem like advice for personal social media accounts, I think there's something here that applies to brands, as well.
Think about it.
There is a pressure in the social media industry to just push things out as quickly as possible --> You're running a million miles an hour, trying to get three different posts up on different platforms before your 9AM meeting with your team that you're responsible for running, you still have messages to check on your phone, you have a few RTs to get in before they completely leave your Twitter feed, and someone Tweets you that they need help with something about your brand. Do you respond as quickly as possible so you can still make your 9AM, or do you take the time to add some personality and 'niceness' to your reply?
It's okay if you answered 'quickly as possible'. It's more common then you think. However, when you actually take the time to think about the other person who took time out of their hectic morning to Tweet your brand, sitting on the other side of their phone/computer waiting for you to respond, wouldn't you much rather send them a personalized, friendly respond instead of bare bones?
That's just one example of when words have a powerful impact in social media. One emoticon, or 'thank you', or 'hope your morning is going well' can completely make a difference in someone's day --> especially when a brand is taking the time to do something besides sell...and that's what we're on social media for, aren't we? To actually socialize and not just sell?
Another example is a lot more fundamental, and possibly not in your control in your position with your company ---> It's making sure the messages you are sending out as brand on social media are inspiring, rather than degrading. Now, this might seem like common sense, and you might want to stop reading at this point because I just seem to be stretching this too far....but, hold on a minute. I'm not saying brands are out there bashing the public (there are a few examples, but we'll save that for another post). I'm saying that even a little swipe at one of your competitors is degrading, and it's important to take the high road and produce words and content that backs your brand, rather then point out where other brands are lacking. As one of my favorite quotes says --> Promote what you love, instead of bashing what you hate. Make sure your content strategy focuses on building the reputation of your brand, not tearing down the reputation of other brands just to make yours look better. In the transparent world of social media, that positive 'building up' instead of 'tearing down' will go A LOT further.
Promoting what you love, instead of bashing what you hate carries into our personal lives as well. Would you rather read a bunch of social posts about how much life and other people suck?! Or, would you rather be inspired and motivated when you're on social by the accomplishments and kindness of others? (I know, easier said than done, but something to think about).
I challenge you to think through your posts (professionally and personally) this week, and really, really think about whether they are words that are going to build someone up, or tear someone down. Take that extra five seconds to add personality and humanity to your responses on your social channels, and play around with sending out positive messages on your networks. You'd be surprised at how far a personalized response goes on social. Try it. I dare you.
- Marji J. Sherman