Monday, November 19, 2012

Top 10 Do's of Social Media for Professionals

I recently had the pleasure to speak about Social Media for Professionals at the CGA Ontario conference.  From that talk, here are my top 10 do's, along with examples of best practice. 

TOP 10 DO'S OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PROFESSIONALS: 

  1. Define your goals and action plan - As tempting as it might be, social media success isn't about being everywhere and using every widget and app.  It's about getting one thing right and doing it in a very big way, consistently and predictably.
  2. Build point of difference into everything - There's no such thing as a throw away update or tweet. Together, everything you post tells a story about your opinions, your expertise and your style.  Excuse the pun, but every character counts!
  3. Personalize introductions - I once received an invitation from an observant someone who noticed a comment that I posted to a shared contact.  Her introduction was teeming with a sincere effort to connect our paths.  Was it worthwhile? Well, here we are a few years later and... I still remember her.    
  4. Be creative and resourceful -  Don't get intimidated by widgets, navigation, hashtags.  Your success isn't limited by technology.    It's limited by your field of vision as a strategic networker.  If you can't find a group to join, start one.  If you can't find a question to answer, ask one.  If you're not getting responses to your posts, comment on someone else's post...
  5. Go offline - Social media doesn't just level the playing field for smaller firms.  It also levels the playing field for introverts.  While that may be a profound equalizer, don't fall into the trap of hiding behind your screen.  Remember to pick up the phone, get out for lunch and even plan activities with your newly formed online contacts.  
  6. Be helpful - Among the rules of engagement, people don't want to be sold to on social media.  But they do want to learn from those who share information or insight in a consistent manner on a deeply specialized topic. 
  7. Be engaging - Dialogue is a two-way street.  The danger in preprogramming your social media posts is total disengagement.  While you're actively sending stuff out, you may be losing out on the opportunity to in the moment respond to the things that others are posting.
  8. Establish rules of engagement - How many groups have you been to on LinkedIn that offer genuine discussion?  I've found one. Seriously.  It's called Sales Best Practices.  If you'd like to understand why it's been so successful, read the group rules.  Try and post a boring pitch or a promotional article and you'll find yourself banned. Publicly!
  9. Bring yourself into it - Here's a tweet from a bank of all places.  'What groom hasn't shuddered at the old saying an engagement ring should cost at least 2 months' salary?' In less than 140 characters, this tweeter managed to communicate attitude and an understanding of contemporary culture, inviting connection with its audience.   
  10. Use your settings - If you wouldn't say it in front of a client then don't post it where it can be found by a client, permanently.  

Do you have your own favorite do's?  Have you witnessed or experienced any particularly magical moments?  Tell us.

Also, stay tuned for our top 10 don'ts of social media for professionals (along with a memorable faus pas or two)!

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


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