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Online Presence Do’s and Don’ts

These are my personal “pet peeves” and things I am hoping more people will pay attention to! What would you add?
Karen

DO

DO Be yourself online. Type as you would speak, and participate in ways parallel to how you would in person. If you would not say or do something in person, do not say or do it online either.

DO Remember there are real people at the other end of the computer, with feelings, opinions, personal histories, individual circumstances, and busy lives, too!

DO Reply to emails, comments on your posts, replies to you, and messages sent to you in a timely manner. It doesn’t need to be immediate but consider getting a voicemail by phone, how long would be OK to return it?

DO Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. If you make an agreement with someone online to send information, mail a catalog, or find out an answer to a question, be sure to follow through. Just because you may not be “seeing” the customer “live” does not mean you can break agreements without consequence.

DO Work your business information into your posts, comments, or messages in subtle ways whenever possible. Less is more so use your best judgment as to whether it would be appropriate to bring it up. Ask yourself if you would in person, and if so what would you honestly say in person to both build excitement and leave them curious for more information?

DO Remember the golden rule, always. Be kind, considerate, and service-minded.

DO Post at least once a week or once a day to the social media sites or forums of your choice. If you are blogging, twice a month is enough, once a week is OK too! You do not need to constantly be posting, but do so often enough so people see you as being a regular member of the community. Large gaps (2 weeks or more) without hearing from you can sometimes give the impression that you are out of business.

DO Tell people what you are up to in and outside of your business, with details that can help them in their lives too. Sharing what you are working on in your “real life” can give them topics to relate to, and build trust, especially if you share tips or tricks, or resources that you love.

DO Welcome new “friends” or “followers” personally if possible. Check them out first, click on their link or read their bio. Get to know them so you can participate in conversations based on commonalities. In turn, they are more likely to check you out and find out about your business.

DO Remember that everything that is posted online is public and searchable now and in the future. The rule is don’t post anything you wouldn’t want on the 6:00 news!

DO Be helpful and relevant. If you are in a forum, reading blogs, or participating in social media sites and see that someone has a need or problem you can help with,  (not necessarily with your product or opportunity!) share! It is appreciated and others reading or responding will want to get to know you better.

DO Refer your “friends” online to others. As you get to know people online, you will find others, especially direct sellers, you can recommend. It’s appreciated!

DO Be respectful of the diversity that is out there. Be sensitive to what could possibly offend others, both in what you post online and in your other communications.

DO Be the kind of person you would like to do business with! If it makes you feel good, lifts someone else’s spirits, is helpful, and sparks curiosity, you are probably on the right track!

DO Read instructions, guidelines, and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for each website, blog, or social media site or service you are participating in. Understand their privacy policy so you are clear about what information of yours could be shared and act accordingly. Understand their Terms of Service (TOS) so you are clear about what is allowed and not allowed as far as advertising.

DO Set a schedule for working on your online presence. One day a week for an hour or two, or every morning for a little bit, or a few 10 minute breaks throughout your day – whatever it is, be consistent and STOP when your time is up. Set a timer so you don’t find your day slipping away because you are having too much fun.

DO Contact me with questions or to share your own insights! I’m happy to help!

DON’T

DON’T Work on your online presence unless and until your “real life” business is taken care of. This is a supplement, or enhancement, for your business, not a replacement. You will always-always-always be more effective when there is a “live” connection via phone or in person than you will online.

DON’T Send blatant advertisements to forums, blogs, or social media sites unless there is a specific time or place they are welcome (such as a Classifieds folder or Marketplace, or Ads OK on Monday rule – read the site’s policies!)

DON’T Post only about your business. Let people get to know you, or offer to help in some way. If you only post about your business, people will know right away you are not there to make true connections with them and they will trust you less.

DON’T Go overboard with posting. Less is more, just be consistent.

DON’T Start something and then give up too soon. Don’t expect results overnight, your goal is to establish a presence that is respected, trustworthy, and memorable. Take little steps and be consistent over time, then give it a chance to grow.

DON’T Post the same exact updates to all of your accounts regularly. Your readers are likely to see you in more than one place and it will seem as if you are not really ‘there’ engaging with people. Announcements once in a while are fine to repeat across sites, but not conversational updates.

DON’T Post anything online that you would not want to be seen far into the future by someone you may not have even met yet. The internet remembers! Even if you delete a post or comment, if it has already been indexed by the search engines, the “cache” can still be seen.

DON’T Post controversial, political, or strongly religious items unless you plan to alienate some people who may want to connect with you. Be as general as you would in mixed company at a party and save the strong views for those who know you better.

DON’T Post your link, advertisement or other special promotion of your business on someone else’s business website, social media profile or online group, unless it has been requested or is regarding a topic already being discussed.  Normally, linking your website to your name or profile is enough to give readers a chance to see who you are and what you do.

DON’T Blindly jump on the bandwagon and copy what others are doing out there. Ask yourself, “Is this something I would do, say, or be, in real life?”

DON’T Carry on a private conversation in public. Remember that anyone can see everything. If you need to discuss details or share information that would apply to no one else out there, take it to private message, chat, or email.

DON’T Share private details about yourself and others that might compromise safety. For example, leave your birth year off of your information, don’t mention the name of yours or your friends’ kids school. Again, always read the privacy policy as well.

DON’T Post spammy, controversial, or inappropriate photos, jokes, links, or videos to any site online. Remember that everything you do online is a reflection both of you as a person and of your company as whole.

DON’T Forget that nothing replaces an in person meeting or phone call. As soon as possible once a connection is made and someone expresses interest in the company or products, invite them to exchange phone numbers so you can give them more information by phone. It will help build rapport and trust while helping you get to know them and their needs better.

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2 Comments

  1. Julie Anne Jones on October 17, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Karen,
    This is awesome! I’m happy to say I’m doing (and not doing) all of them at least most of the time. Thanks for sharing a great post!

  2. Larna Pittiglio on October 17, 2009 at 3:17 am

    love it, love it, love it…..
    all i will ad is

    DO…. become a FAN of My Business Prescence if you would like to see a great example of how to network your business online without alienating people…

    Great post Karen!

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