Welcome to Thursday’s Tips at Studio 4 PR! Every Thursday, I’ll be sharing the best tips I’ve found to make your business and/or life easier. Most of the time, they’ll be relevant to finding and being found by your ideal client, but my main goal is to make them meaningful. Or fun. Or both.
If you have a tip to share with other entrepreneurs or small business owners, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with Thursday’s Tips in the subject line. I won’t post anything that’s offensive, small-minded, mean-spirited, or negative, so please be nice. Just sayin’.
NOTE: I originally wrote this post in 2011, but came across it again after witnessing the unprofessional behavior of a “friend” on social media bad mouthing a former employer and then telling all 742 of his friends that there was no way they would ever find out because he’d changed his name and adjusted his privacy settings. (Which means nothing). Anyway, it reminded me that what goes on the Internet…stays on the Internet…forever.
Ah, it’s a “problem” we all should be so lucky to have — having too many friends. Or, as in this case, too many “friends”, which are classified as people who found you through some form of social media and because of your expertise, reputation, products or services, have decided to follow you. Think of it as the high tech version of the Pied Piper.
Social media is a great thing. You can keep in touch with Aunt Millie in Minnesota, reconnect with your college roommate, and forge new frontiers in business by leveraging new markets, creating partnerships, developing relationships with vendors, and finding customers. And, you can do it a lot faster than you did when you were passing out business cards at a trade show or networking event.
That said, like everything in business, and in life, you have to frequently reevaluate and reassess whether your “friends” are continuing to provide you and your business with the value that makes it worth keeping them in your rolodex.
Apparently, this is an issue that internet marketing guru Joel Comm has been pondering as well. According to the bio on his web site, Comm is an “entrepreneur, bestselling author, public speaker, social media evangelist, and mobile marketing innovator.” I don’t even remember how I ended up following him, but I liked the fact that he wasn’t afraid to address the sticky issues, even those that involved his colleauges, like this post he wrote on ethics (or lack of) in internet marketing. I’ve never ordered his products or read his books, but I’ve continued to subscribe to his blog and followed him on Twitter because I liked what he stood for.
Until I read this post called Unfriending for Fun and Sanity, in which he let his Facebook followers who he’d “friended” on his personal page know (along with the rest of the free world) that he was “unfriending” everyone he didn’t have a personal connection with and suggested that they instead follow him on his fan page.
Although I have no problem with what he said, there are a number of things about the way he said it that I think were unnecessary (and I said as much in my comment.) They are things that I think can be a lesson to all of us:
1. Pack Your Message in Your Headline
This is the first rule that every journalism student learns. Your headline should convey the essence of your story because that will determine whether anyone even bothers to read it. “Unfriending for Fun and Sanity” sounds just plain mean.
2. Keep Your Business and Personal Pages Separate
If you are using social media to market your business, create a strategy that does just that. Joel calls himself a “social media evangelist and mobile marketing innovator”, so I’m not sure why he’d invite total strangers to “friend” him on his personal page. That’s kind of like inviting a whole city to sleep over at your house, and then realizing you have to always be on your best behavior, you can never leave the towels on the bathroom floor and you always have to watch what you say in mixed company.
3. They’re People, People!
I’m not sure what happened, but for some reason, the advent of social media has caused us to forget our manners. Now, things we never would have dreamed of doing pre-Facebook, we can do anonymously (like cyber bullying, or destroying a person’s or business’ reputation,) and then not give a second thought to the lives we wrecked or the feelings we hurt.
If you find yourself overloaded with a few too many “friends” who are taking up prime real estate with their silly Farmville games or nonsensical chatter, or as in Joel’s case, if you had a “what-was-I-thinking-by-inviting everyone-and-their-brother-to-friend-me-on-my-personal-page?” epiphany, invite them to follow you on your fan page. Then, instead of making them feel like gum on the bottom of your shoe, you can have your blog post be about how you’re streamlining your marketing efforts and that you look forward to providing them with more dynamic and meaningful content.
Lest I sound like a 95 pound weakling who’s used to getting sand kicked in her face, the concept of kindness in business is big business. A quick search on Amazon for books about “kindness” and “business” yielded nearly 50 titles, and I’m sure there are many more.
Bottom line is this: being nice pays.
What do you think? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.
Please forward this to everyone in your tribe who will find it of value.
Thanks for sharing this space with me.
Stay tuned tomorrow for #Follow Friday, featuring influential people worth following. Send items of interest to email@example.com with the day it’s intended for in the subject line.
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Robin Taney, (aka the “Get R.E.A.L Girl”) is the owner and founder of Studio 4 PR. She works with creative, independent, and “kitchen table” entrepreneurs who are highly motivated to be found by their perfect client. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and sign up for mailing list You are welcome to use this post on your blog, provided you do not alter it in any way and include a link to this blog.
Robin is also a co-author of the bestselling book, Navigating Entrepreneurship: Secrets to Put You on an Unstoppable Course, and City Director for the Rochester digital edition of Today’s Innovative Woman magazine. Click here for a free subscription or to learn more about advertising packages.