How To Behave And Market Yourself Online
Is Social Media Replacing Traditional Media?
Social media channels are increasingly replacing traditional marketing channels, such as TV and newspaper. For online professionals, social media channels are important marketing tools that showcase what we do and allow us to network, make meaningful connections, and build trust.
But one of the worst problems with social networks is that when we’re behind a computer and not engaging in real-life dialogue, we tend to lose control and not behave accordingly. However, if used correctly, these tools are powerhouses for online marketing and visibility. In January 2018, the world’s population was 7.59 billion people, and of those people, 4.02 billion of them were internet users, with that number increasing about 7% per year. Meanwhile, the number of people on social media this year is 3.19 billion, increasing about 13% per year. Therefore, more than half of the world’s population is online, and almost everybody who’s online is also on social media. Facebook, the most popular social media channel, has 2.19 million active users, followed by YouTube with 1.9 million, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Besides being the fastest-growing social media channel, Facebook also dominates the social landscape in terms of access and engagement.
So, let’s set some ground rules on how to use social networks to our benefit. Trust me, it’s not difficult!
First of all, as a rule of thumb, always apply best practices and coexistence rules from the real world to the online world. Just because you’re not in the same place as your online connection doesn’t mean you should treat them differently or be overly personal.
Before doing anything online, always ask yourself if you would do it in the real world. For example, do you approach people you don’t know and blatantly ask them to be your friend without introducing yourself and telling them why you want to be their friend or where you know them from? If not, then why do it online?
The bottom line here: Always introduce yourself when adding someone on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Along that same train of thought, choose your profile picture wisely. Use one where your face is clearly visible and not too far away, and you aren’t wearing sunglasses. Don’t use a picture where you’re with someone else, or your cat or dog – they aren’t you. Also, be careful with facial expressions and how you’re dressed. Whether you like it or not, people will judge you, and you don’t want to give the wrong impression and scare off a potential client.
Do you dress, act, and talk the same way everywhere you go (in church, with family, with close friends, with colleagues, etc.)? I bet you don’t. So why would you post things on your social channels that might give others a poor impression of you?
Don’t get me wrong, you’re free to post anything you feel like posting: just be aware of who your audience is. Facebook has this fantastic resource where you can create different lists of friends, e.g. “Job,” “Family,” “Close friends,” “Church,” etc. and then restrict your posts by lists. Use it to make sure the right people see the right posts, thereby marketing yourself positively.
Frequently post news or interesting articles related to what you do. If you create your own content (if you have a blog, for example), share your articles on your social channels as they come out.
On the other hand, be extra careful with sensitive topics, such as religion and politics. Don’t engage in heated discussions. Be polite at all times, even if people are rude to you. Try to sleep on it before replying to an angry comment — you may decide you don’t need to reply at all. Do not, under any circumstance, complain about your clients or your job online. That’s not professional.
In summary, always think it through before hitting “post.”
Do tell your friends and followers when you’re planning to attend professional events, and when you come back, be sure to share your thoughts and what you learned with them. At professional events, make sure the people you meet know what you do. You never know who your next client might be.
In a nutshell, if you always think carefully before doing anything online and consider if you would do the same thing in real life and if you would like if others did it to you, you should be safe.
By having a good online presence, where you’re displaying good behavior, showcasing your work, and demonstrating that you’re up-to-date within your market, people will pay attention to you and have a good opinion about you, and you’ll certainly stand out from social media users who don’t know how to behave online.
Caroline Alberoni is a Brazilian translator from English and Italian specialized in IT, marketing, business and the environment, with eight years of experience. She holds an MA in Translation Studies with Intercultural Communication (University of Surrey, UK) and a BA in Languages Specialized in Translation (Unesp, Brazil). Besides being the head and heart behind Alberoni Translations, Caroline is a social media curator. She is also a blogger and hosts a translation podcast in Brazilian Portuguese (TradTalk). Alberoni is a member of Abrates (Brazilian Association of Translators and Interpreters) and Sintra (Brazilian Union of Translators and Interpreters).