Understanding Social Media Etiquette with Real-World Scenarios

Google social media etiquette, and you’ll retrieve over 4,000,000 results (at the time of this writing). Clearly, it’s a topic that resonates with people, and in the ever-changing, real-time realm of social media, it’s easy to understand why people are confused on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Throw in trying to balance personal and business accounts on a variety of platforms, and we have a free-for-all on our hands.

Not sure if something is appropriate online? Translate it into a real-world scenario.

What can you do? When you find yourself facing a social media conundrum, translate it to a real-world scenario. For example, it’s popular nowadays to send new connections an automated sales pitch, er message, asking for favors left and right: retweet my pinned tweet, buy my book, follow me on a plethora of other platforms (where, coincidentally, your new connection blasts out the same exact content at the same exact time). You may find yourself wondering, ‘should I do this too?’

OK, let’s translate this behavior into real life. You stop in a coffee shop to get your fix, and strike up a conversation with a guy behind you in line. (It’s amazing the people you meet in coffee shops!) When you get to the counter, you ask the nice gentleman you just connected with to buy your latte. Of course! Who doesn’t do that, right?

If you think that’s nuts, I’m with you. You wouldn’t do that, and chances are, neither would anyone else. However, people do this every day in the digital world and think it’s not only acceptable, but expected.

Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL

But, here’s the thing. It blows people away online too, and not in a good way. Trying to become a thought leader in your field or connect with experienced industry professionals to learn from them? Don’t immediately hit them up for favors upon connecting, or you’ll be viewed as just another leach.

That may sound harsh, but it applies to networking in person or online. Connections aren’t things waiting to be used, they’re people to build relationships with. When you approach someone or make a new connection, look at how you can bring value to the relationship — not what you can get out of it. Eventually, this person may be able to help you, but not if you approach him or her immediately asking for favors.

Don’t Ask To Pick My Brain. (And 11 other tips for building a strong professional network)

Talk to influencers in any industry, and they’ll share tale after tale of people constantly hitting them up for favors. They usually want to help others, because people helped them get where they are today. But they’re people, and they don’t like being used.

So the next time you’re thinking about doing something online, remember to translate it into real-world (or offline) behavior. Does it sound crazy? Then move on. It’s easy to forget that we’re still dealing with human beings in our fast-paced, digital world. (Unless you’re talking to a chat bot, but that’s a subject for another blog post.)

Share Your Thoughts

Do you agree with this post, or is our online world a different place with different social norms?

What are your thoughts on sending automated messages to new connections?

What’s your best coffee shop story?

Straddling the offline and online worlds,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media etiquette, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Content is King — or is Conversation?

We live in an era where content is king — or so we’re told on a daily basis. But think about it…

If you produce awesome content and no one is around to consume it, is it still king?

"A Conversation" by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

“A Conversation” by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

I’m reading an intriguing book right now, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free by Cory Doctorow. It’s a thought-provoking read about how we create and exchange value in the digital age, but one quote in particular thus far caught my eye.

“Content isn’t king. Conversation is.”

Doctorow has a good point. He notes that the telecommunications industry — companies that let people talk to each other — has always outpaced the entertainment industry, including a $270 billion advantage in 2011-2012.^ What is the Internet besides a gigantic conversation?

Read: Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation

This insight made me reconsider the widely accepted adage of today — content is king. Of course, it’s important. You can drive all of the traffic in the world to your website, and if there’s nothing there, it won’t help. However, you do have to drive people to your website or storefront or studio, and great content alone won’t do that. You have to create — and engage others — in a conversation.

Read: Are You Being Heard? Communication Tips For Your Brand

So the question remains… If you produce awesome content and no one is around to consume it, is it still king?

Content or Conversation

Is content or conversation king?

How do you drive traffic to your content?

What’s more challenging: creating great content or driving traffic to it?

^ Source: Information Doesn’t Want to be Free, “Getting People to Care About Your Work,” pgs 49-50

Joining the conversation,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about content, conversations, a new project or otherwise):
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Every Move You Make: Maintaining Privacy in a Digital World

Every Move You Make: Maintaining Privacy in a Digital World

The Man. Big Brother. The eye in the sky. Whatever you call it, it’s watching you. (Cue The Police — the band, that is.)

We’ve touched on the issue of privacy in a digital world before, but it’s worth revisiting as technology continues to improve. The issue comes from balancing convenience and maintaining any privacy whatsoever. Where’s the line in the (digital) sand? When will we know when it has been crossed?

“It straddles the line of creepy and cool.”  –Jeff Bakalar, CNET Senior Editor

As CBS News reported, the new Google timeline tracks — and archives — every move you make. Before you completely freak out, note that your timeline is visible only to you, and the search giant does allow you to opt out of being tracked. Of course, that may hinder any location-based services you utilize, such as Google Maps.

Understand that this isn’t a Google issue, or a Facebook issue; it’s a human issue. Do we jump all in to utilize the conveniences that technology offers? Do we maintain any privacy at all? Does it matter anymore?

Sure, you can opt out of the Internet entirely, but that’s getting harder and harder to do. According to a Pew Research study released last week, 15% of American adults don’t use the Internet at all. While that’s a substantial drop from a 2000 study (48%), it’s still shocking to most of us. How do they manage? What do they do for a living?

“In our ever-more wired world, connectivity is crucial for access to jobs, government services, health care, and information—as well as for the education and skills training of younger Americans.”  –Julia Greenberg, WIRED staff writer

So the question is where’s your line? Do you have one? Have you thought about it?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s a personal decision like what you wear or the music you listen to.

Let’s discuss; weigh in with your opinion. Where’s your line?

p.s. If you’re now humming “Every Breath You Take” by the Police, here you go. Enjoy!

An old school soul living in a digital world,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on technology, privacy or otherwise):
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50 Years of Satisfaction: How You Can Learn From The ‘Stones

On a recent visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, I was reminded how amazing the Rolling Stones are. They’re still rocking 50 years later and are as relevant as ever. While browsing the two-floor 50 Years of Satisfaction exhibit, I started thinking about how successful of a business venture the band — and brand — is. What can we learn from these legendary rock stars?

the Rolling Stones brand

It’s All About The Brand — In 1962, these aspiring musicians didn’t just seek to form a band; they wanted a defining brand. Yes, they love making music, but Mick, Keith & co also understood the business side of creating and promoting a successful brand as they grew… and grew. Today, the iconic red tongue is as recognizable as the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches.

Image

Adapt (& Improvise) To Survive — 50 years is a long time to be relevant. The band has adapted throughout the years by adjusting its sound without losing its identity, especially as band members have come and gone. They’ve also followed their instincts and pursued opportunities that felt right, even when they went against the grain. Today, they’ve embraced social media and the digital landscape to connect and promote. How can you improvise to survive and thrive?

Mick enjoying a little "reading"

Stay True To Yourself — The trick to adapting is to remain true to yourself. The Stones are the Stones, like them or not. They hit the scene as the bad boys of rock when it was anything but popular. As they’ve dropped the drugs and hit late middle age, their music has followed. Their lyrics speak of their current lives and experiences, which fans appreciate and identity with.

The Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction

Remain In Control — They’ve experimented, argued, taken changes and closed deals, but they’ve always remained in control of their band and brand. While the Stones have no problem working with business managers, partners and companies, they always have final say over projects and products that bear their name. Keep that in mind as you approach new opportunities.

So there you have it… How the Rolling Stones have survived and thrived in a cut-throat, fast-moving, trend-driven industry. Oh, and some amazing music, legendary live shows and fabulous albums, too.

Open Mic

Are you a Stones fan?

What else have you learned from the Rolling Stones or other performers?

Have you used ideas from other industries to improve your business or brand?

Who’s your favorite musical act of all time?

All photos taken at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH 

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,
Jaime

You Can’t Always Get What You Want… but you can connect with CCC:
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Social Media Savvy: It’s Still All About the Brand

One of the more popular posts I wrote last year was about social media branding and its importance to your brand’s reputation, especially if you’re in the marketing, social media, technology or related fields. After reading Dustin W. Stout’s excellent post on the subject, I realized an update was in order. The major social networks were busy editing, tweaking and re-branding in 2013.

Why does it even matter?

  • Your reputation — If your social media branding is out of date, what else is?
  • Respect — You’ve carefully cultivated your brand and want people to use it as intended. Extend that courtesy to others, including social media networks.
  • Brand police — The networks may not notice that you’re using their out-of-date branding unless you’re Coca-Cola or Apple. But remember, you are renting space on their platforms so it’s not a good idea.
spotlight shining on the major social media network logos

Your brand conveys who you are and what you’re about. Make sure to always comply with other company’s brand guidelines.

Facebook rolled out a new like button this year, but the social media giant’s main logo has remained pretty consistent. The company uses a white ‘f’ in a blue square and does not allow use of the full Facebook logo.

Google may be a brand master, but it’s social network Google+ is still figuring out which way it wants to go in that department. This platform has changed its branding every year of its short existence, and has currently settled on a centered ‘g+’ on a red background.

Twitter‘s flying high from its splashy IPO earlier this year (which has since come back to Earth), so its fresh branding with its legendary bird angled up makes sense. Stay away from the old ‘t’ or full Twitter logos, or the dreaded Fail Whale may appear.

Instagram is a new addition to this year’s post as the visual social platform has exploded over the past two years. The company has added video to its repertoire, been purchased by Facebook and moved to the web — a major reason to grab a badge and promote your account.

                 Facebook logo     Google+ logo     Twitter logo     Instagram logo     Pinterest logo     LinkedIn logo     YouTube logo

The current branding for the major social platforms is shown above. (Keep in mind that some offer additional options, depending on use.) For your convenience, I’ve linked each logo to the current branding guidelines for that social network.

Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you about social media brand compliance.

Is using current social media branding on your website, blog and other marketing materials important to you?

Is it as important if you’re not in a related industry?

Is there another social media network or platform you’re interested in?

Need to update your social media branding? As a special treat, Dustin has shared a downloadable file at the end of his aforementioned insightful post.

Well blog readers, it’s  been an eventful year. Thank you for reading along, joining the discussions and sharing our content to your connections. We really appreciate it, and wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!

Spotlight photo courtesy of Virgin Mobile’s Wallpaper Swag Gallery // Social media icons were added

Stay safe and enjoy ringing in the New Year!

Jaime

Join the conversation: 
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Tweet Some Love, Gain Some Respect

We all have them in our lives. A babysitter that’s always available when you really need a night out. A loyal friend who’s willing to interrupt her day to hear your latest crisis over coffee. A lifelong customer who loves your business’ story. A super fan who engages with and shares your content more than you do. People who just make your world turn a little easier. Now there’s a cool, new way to thank them.

Starbucks continues to embrace the digital realm and social media by partnering with Twitter to introduce tweet-a-coffee. After quickly connecting your Starbucks and Twitter accounts, you can easily send your loyal friend, awesome customer or super fan a $5 eGift card. Seriously, it’s that easy.

As a business owner, I immediately thought of some priceless opportunities for brands. Giveways? You no longer need to retrieve a winner’s physical address to mail swag, just a Twitter handle. Thanking loyal fans (and customers)? It’s easy on your end but is appreciated by the recipient. Your fans and customers will enjoy being publicly recognized for their loyalty, contribution to your digital marketing efforts and fabulous ideas. In turn, your business receives positive PR and the warm, fuzzy feeling associated with being good corporate citizens. And don’t forget about acknowledging employees!

I had to try this new service, so I tweeted a coffee to one of Clearly Conveyed Communications‘s super fans, Lance Wyllie. Lance is always willing to engage in thoughtful conversation, add insightful comments to discussions (on the blog and Twitter) and is so generous with sharing others’ information.

The process couldn’t have been easier. After quickly connecting my Starbucks and Twitter accounts, I sent a personalized message to @tweetacoffee to @LanceWyllie (as seen above). Starbucks’ @Tweetacoffee account immediately tweeted Lance a clickable link to redeem his eGift card (which can be scanned from your smartphone or printed out). On the back end, Starbucks sent me a receipt confirming my purchase and separately emailed me when Lance viewed the gift. A seamless process.

It’s always exciting when a new tool becomes available to add to your marketing mix. Just remember: tweet some love, gain some respect.

How can you or your business utilize tweet-a-coffee?

Who would you tweet-a-coffee to?

Tweets from my (@jaimeshine) Twitter feed
Tweet-a-Coffee video courtesy of Starbucks

An espresso addict (and Starbucks fan),
Jaime

p.s. As an espresso addict, it’s hard for me to fathom people who don’t drink espresso or coffee. Rest assured, Starbucks offers tea, fruit juices, water, fresh bakery items, delicious breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, among other favorites, for all of you non-coffee folks out there. 

p.s.s. To help spread the word, Starbucks is giving a $5 eGift card to the first 100,000 people who participate in the tweet-a-coffee program before 11/06/13 and fund the purchase with a Visa card. Full details here.

Coffee lover or not, connect with me… 
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Social Media Savvy: It’s All About the Brand

Twitter bird icon

UPDATED: It’s Still All About the Brand

Whether you’re a social media superstar or a company touting your social savvy, it’s all about the brand. The social media platforms’ brands, that is. Are you brand compliant?

Facebook logo          Google+ branding          Twitter bird icon          Pinterest logo          LinkedIn logo

In July, Twitter switched its iconic identity from its well-known “t” logo to the bird. I still see “t’s” dotting the digital landscape everywhere I go.

Facebook prefers the “f” logo and generally does not allow use of the full Facebook logo.

Google+ offers a configuration tool for use of its logo online, but does not approve of the use of its +1 icon in online ads.

Pinterest offers use of both its full name and “p” logos and gives examples of successful brands utilizing its platform.

The LinkedIn name (not logo) should always be accompanied by the ® or ™ symbol, and its logo should always be used in color for online use (and offline, if practical).

For your convenience, I’ve included links below to current branding guidelines for these networks:

Remember, you can still get social while being brand compliant!

Are you using outdated branding guidelines to promote your social media usage? Have you never even given social media branding a second thought? I’d love to hear your take on this topic along with any other suggestions you have to shine on the social media stage.

While you’re at it, connect with me! Below are links to my presences on these social networks. I’d love to hear from you via these networks or in the comments below.

Enjoy the day,
Jaime

Facebook logo  Google+ branding  Twitter bird icon  Pinterest logo  LinkedIn logo

Image credits:
Facebook Brand Permissions Center *** Google+ Brand Guidelines *** Twitter Trademark and Content Display Policy *** Pinterest Goodies *** LinkedIn Branding Guidelines