Social media is fantastic for both business and personal use. It can be used as a marketing tool and a place to share photos from your latest beach holiday concurrently. But what happens when the fine line between getting personal on social media and becoming a target is crossed, and the interaction becomes a little too personal?
Not a day goes by without hearing stories about people being bullied online by exes or having their private photos shared. There is getting personal by sharing funny images and videos, and then there are the personal attacks that fall into the “trolling” category. Leonie Dawson wrote about how her willingness to share and be vulnerable online made her a target earlier this month. And Charlotte Dawson publicly shared tweets from her online bullies before her death.
Mixing personal and business
I’ve been using social media for more than eight years. I started blogging while at home with a young baby and quickly added online forums, Twitter and Facebook as a way of staying connected with the world outside my little family. Initially my social media use was purely personal, but as I connected with other parents who were building businesses at home around children, I started to see the benefits for networking and marketing too.
My posts are a combination of anecdotes, photos and updates from my personal life, interesting articles/links I think my network would like and news or wins about my business. I call it the “rule of thirds” and it works for me. Every social media user needs to find their own rules for what works and what doesn’t, but I think there’s space here for all of us.
Playing nice online
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my tips for keeping on the right side of the personal fence:
- Don’t make constructive criticism personal – if you are posting the criticism online stick to the facts and be as detailed as possible so the business can use your feedback for training. If you are responding to someone else’s criticism, address the issues they mention and don’t attack them personally.
- Be authentic – keep your posts on brand (both your personal and your business brand) and everyone will know what to expect from you.
- Engage with your networks – respond to comments on your updates, have conversations, share experiences and reciprocate with their updates. This means if you ever come under fire from someone online, you’ll have a network ready to defend you.
Have you ever had a less-than-savoury experience via social media? How did you handle it? Did you have any tips to add?