By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
…social media faux pas.
Raise your hand if you are sick of hearing about Anthony Weiner’s, let’s just say, Congressional member. I don’t expect this to die right away; it’s just ripe for comedic analysis. Which got me to thinking…what lessons can we in the business community, and especially those that are active or just starting to get on social media, take from all this hubbub? Here are some thoughts.
Know your audience
Before you start sending messages willy-nilly (pun intended), think about who you are sending them to and what you want their response to be. Too many times messages are sent via social media or email without a lot of thought about what the receiver will think when they receive it, nor how they will react. Put some thought into it and customize your message for your audience as much as possible.
Online is forever
Yes, it takes seconds to put a message online, but once it’s sent, it’s out there forever. So while you may want to fire off the occasional rant or post something funny, think about it before you do. Will you feel the same way in 5 minutes, 2 weeks or 10 years? Would you be embarrassed if your Mom read what you are putting out there? Or is it simply not in congruence with your branding or company message? Once it’s gone, it can’t be unsaid, unposted or unsent, so make sure you are comfortable with it before you hit SEND.
Know what you are doing
Anthony Weiner may have never been found out if he had known the difference between an @reply and a direct message on Twitter. Get trained on how to best use these great social media tools and make sure you have a policy in place at your firm that requires that anyone using it gets trained as well. If you want to send a message directly to someone that the rest of your followers don’t need to read, then learn how to do that. The benefits of social media far outweigh the risks, but there are risks. Make sure you know how to drive before getting behind the wheel.
Fill in the recipient last
This may seem like a silly thing, but it can save you from some unwanted embarrassment. When you are crafting an email or writing a direct message on social media, wait until you are completely happy with what you are saying before you fill in the address of the recipient. That way, if you accidentally hit SEND, it doesn’t go anywhere.
There are plenty of other lessons, but these stood out to us. What do you think? What can you add? If we have to hear about Weiner ad nasueum, we might as well learn something from it, right?