Hold the Line and Go with the Flow

Hold the Line and Go with the Flow

How can you be authentic and spontaneous online without saying too much?

FIDGET Branding’s clients trust me to maintain confidentiality around the work we do together. The fact is, TMI is a real hazard to reputations and business relationships, and social media demands can feel like a minefield. Truthfully, I’m sometimes horrified by the way that some people share the intimate details of their lives unfolding in real time. And the nature of social media is being in the middle of it.

If you work for a corporation, your corpcomm folks have probably issued social media guidelines. But we all know that social media moves faster than any guidelines. To be spontaneous online means having a solid sense of what’s appropriate in any setting.

Once I drew the line between the kind of content I wanted to put on each feed, it was easier to separate the personal from professional. But within the professional, there’s also the issue of client confidentiality. When I post or tweet, I hold to that bright line that guards client discretion. Instead, I focus on sharing insights that aren’t particular to any one client and could be helpful to everyone.

Tone and attitude can also get out of hand, especially if you get in a back-and-forth. So I keep it civil and constructive. When in doubt, if I wouldn’t use that tone or voice with my mother, I don’t post it either. If I focus on what I know and reflect the human values that FIDGET Branding operates by, my social media persona takes care of itself.

I’ve realized that getting adept at social media takes broadening my perspective on what’s possible. I’m recognizing opportunities to share something of value that I’ve taken for granted. I still prefer building relationships one lunch, one phone call, one handwritten note at a time. But somewhere between the far ends of too quiet and gaudily promotional, I’m finding a social media comfort zone. It’s a place I can be myself, represent my business and be a valued voice in the conversation.

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Question:

Are you starting a worthwhile conversation? What ideas are you championing in your social media circles? (Tell us!)

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About the Social Media for the Reluctant series:

People assume that because I’m a marketer, I’m a natural at social media. Spoiler alert: I’m not — and I know I’m not the only one. Over the last decade, we’ve seen social media become an important way for businesspeople to raise their profile, promote their skills and share their thought leadership. Establishing this personal brand is part business and part personality — and the line between can get blurry.

But the skills that make for successful face-to-face connections don’t always translate to LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or other social feeds. This series is for anyone who, like me, is sometimes a reluctant social media user.

Bonnie Nijst
Written by Bonnie Nijst

Bonnie Nijst has been a wire service bureau manager, VP of sales, and a board member for organizations focused on economic opportunity, public health and civic engagement. She is president and CEO of FIDGET.

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