We live in an age of instant communication and no filters. Anyone can talk about anything any time and almost anyone can see it. While you may feel fine about trash talking everything under the sun, other people are tired of the anger and the abuse. Social media gives you a forum and many people use their forum to vent, whine, criticize, and insult anyone and everyone whose opinion is different from their own.
You may be thinking, this is freedom of speech, I have the right to speak my mind. Yes, you do but in an age when social media is used to select services, buy products, and vet job seekers, you may want to avoid alienating your market on social media. Freedom of speech in its truest form means less of saying everything on your mind and more of making sure what you say has value.
Why avoid alienating your market?
You may assume that everyone thinks just like you but you are probably wrong. Many times when you don’t hear people around you disagreeing with topics you share or discuss on social media, it is because they know that it is not worth it to antagonize the people who may be their future customers, clients, or employers. A few years ago, I found myself getting ill reading some of the Facebook posts from people I know who obviously think differently than I do on a variety of topics. The posts were downright mean and insulting to anyone who didn’t agree with their position on a topic.
There may be some times when you don’t care if you offend people and if that is the case, you don’t have to avoid alienating your market. If you feel so strongly about something that not sharing it on social media will be a bigger problem than the potential loss of customers, clients, suppliers, or employers, then say whatever you want.
Stand for what you believe in but avoid alienating your market
Even if you decide you want to take a stand, there are ways to state your point without being insulting. Frankly, I see more meanness and cruelty on social media than I experienced the rest of my life. Just because you can say whatever you want, doesn’t mean you should. Think about the impact of what you thought was a funny cartoon or article on the person who doesn’t agree with it.
As an entrepreneur, avoid alienating your market
If you are an entrepreneur, think about your customer who may not think as you do. Or even if they do, may not appreciate the derogatory or mean tone of what you post. If you can afford to only work with people who think like you, say whatever you want. If instead, you are trying to attract new customers who value your product or service, maybe you should be careful of your message.
As a job seeker, avoid alienating your market
If you are a job seeker, think about the hiring manager who has to look at your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets. Don’t tell me about privacy limitations, there are plenty of ways to get around privacy settings to see what you post, comment, or share. Many employers launch a full Google and social media search the minute you hit submit. In addition, the hiring manager has to think not only about what he thinks, but how you will represent the company to his or her customers or clients.
6 Tips to avoid alienating your market
- Think before you post, share, comment, or tweet.
- Don’t post drunk (or high or…)
- Think about what you post from someone else’s perspective.
- Watch your tone. Sometimes it isn’t your point of view that annoys but how you say it.
- Be careful where you comment. Comments on media or articles can be read by anyone.
- Use common sense social media practices.
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