Last week at the Middle of the Map Fest held in the Kansas City Crossroads, I attended a forum panel focused on navigating social connectivity. It was a lively and provocative discussion on the interrelationship between the online and offline communication world, and it sharpened my thinking on the subject.
Far too frequently, we see poor online sharing choices. These range from off-color comments on business Twitter accounts, to questionable photograph choices, to acts of deliberate deception. It is easy to claim that we are still finding our way with the new technology, that the allure of anonymity is to blame, or that self-policing will solve this in time. As responsible stewards of brands, it is critical to set up guidelines for online interaction. Consider it an employee online dress code to set the tone for how the company wants to be perceived and the level of professionalism expected.
Be truthful. The online space should be a place to better define who you are. It’s not a playground to take out our aggressions or test out crazy theories. What we do online, individually and as business agents, is a direct extension of who we are. We have an obligation therefore to be true, making our online interactions seamless with our personality and position. This becomes even more of an issue in a global economy where online interactions may be the only connection between companies and their customers.
The two most frequent questions I hear when talking about social media with our clients are in regard to timing and content. What should I share? How often do I need to do this? The answer to both: Be an interesting part of their day. If you know the interests of your audience and you have something relevant to say, then now is the time. If you don’t, then skip it. Every time you tweet or share, it is another opportunity for your audience to either value your relationship or question it. Not surprisingly, it is the same offline.
The lesson: What happens in social media happens in real life. Your online and offline brand are one and the same.
— Wayne Kaufmanschmidt, Digital Strategy Vice President