Online social media friends and followers represent part of my professional network. For those of us doing business virtually, social media contacts are a major part of that professional network. Do you realize that social media contacts can help or hinder online reputation and credibility?
In personal face-to-face relationships with business acquaintances and personal friends, sometimes it becomes necessary to draw boundaries. Simply put, there are some people with whom I do not want to be associated, either personally or professionally. I am quite sure that will upset someone, but it is the truth. Some relationships do not benefit us.
This truth also applies to online social media connections. For over 18 months I have worked diligently to build a professional network using Twitter and LinkedIn targeting people connected to the legal industry and/or virtual services. My accounts were opened specifically for the purpose of business networking. More recently, I have added a Facebook personal page and business fan page. As a result of that networking, I have benefited from numerous opportunities which would not have occurred had I not been building relationships via social media.
I was recently contacted via email by someone wanting to connect on Twitter, but the individual had been blocked. I reviewed the account in question, and immediately discovered why the block had been placed. There was a pattern of language and subject matter which I did not feel was appropriate in my professional network.
Policies and rules are usually established because of abuses or inappropriate action. Social media is no different. Unfollow, block and reporting spam features were created for a reason. But, do you ever use them?
If you do not have a personal or business social media policy, I encourage you to start the new year by evaluating what you want to gain from social media. Do your followers and the people you are following meet the “ideal connection” profile? Are you selective?
The name of the game is not getting the most followers. I have read about numerous instances of individuals who decided the mass following they had spent hours developing was doing them no good. So, these individuals unfollowed everyone and started over, building real relationships.
For me, my personal and business social media accounts are for connecting and building real, authentic, credible relationships with people who have similar interests. I have invested time, energy and resources in building this network, and I want to preserve its integrity.
It’s my network. I can block you, and I will block you if I do not believe our interests are aligned, or if your content falls outside what I deem appropriate for my network.