Monday, February 23, 2009

What's Your Social Media Voice?

Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where optimism over our Boys of Summer (Go Twins!) always reigns supreme this time of year. Especially when we sign a Gold-Glove All-Star for a bargain price at the start of camp.

Maybe the most fascinating part of social media for me is the voice that people choose to take with the various interfaces like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. There are so many ways to use these sites, and engage in direct conversations of all types with others. But should people interact differently with each other and show different sides of themselves on the different sites? What are the best practices for how to use each interface? Does it even matter?

It seems that most social media veterans have at some point thought about how they want to use these sites, how they want to represent themselves on each one, etc. Conversely, I find that many social media newbies - and even some veterans - haven't seriously thought about how they come across through the different social media channels. Every Tweet, Facebook wall post, status update, group you join, etc. speaks to who you are and what other people will think of you. Put another way, everything about you in social media speaks to your own personal brand.

So the question then becomes: are you presenting yourself on social media the way that you want, and giving the perception of yourself that you want others to have? Is your online self adding value to the community that you are a part of? What are the potential consequences of how you represent yourself, and are you okay with them?

Personally, I believe in using each site differently. Each one seems to have a different vibe, set of users and reasons for existence. Plus, I have many different roles in life just like anyone else, so I give each of those roles the attention/respect I think they deserve on the site that I think they align with the closest. My Facebook profile is my personal social media tool - for personal connections (friends and family) only. My LinkedIn profile is for my professional life only. And my Twitter, loosely defined, is a strategic combination of the two. Sure, there's plenty of overlap in who I engage with on each site and what we talk about. But those people that I connect with through all three sites could look closely and see a different side of me on each one. The content I post, the conversations I have and the tone I use are different for each site. But I am very careful that everything I do supports who I am, my values/beliefs and how I want others to see me in the online world. It works for me.

If you haven't thought about this, then you probably should. And if you have, well, maybe it's worth doing again. Are you portraying yourself in a way that's true to who you are and what you hope to get out of your investment in social media? If the answer is no, then you probably should make some changes. It could mean editing your profile, or restricting what you Tweet about, engaging more with certain contacts or any number of other things. But give it some serious thought, and I think the process will help you achieve your social media goals.

As always, thoughts/comments are more than welcome. What is your social media voice?

I'm out like scoring in the mens' basketball version of the Big Ten Conference.

3 comments:

Arik C. Hanson, APR said...

This is a conversation we've had before. For me, it's all about time. I've chosen to spend the bulk of my time on Twitter and creating unique content that adds value to the conversation through my blog. Any free time outside of that I spend on other folk's blogs, like yours, adding my two cents to the conversation. Quite frankly, I don't have time for FB, YouTube and other accounts on a regular basis. Sure, I visit them from time to time, and keep in touch with those I need to, but for the most part I've made a deliberate decision to invest my time in areas where I think I add the most value.

The voice thing is interesting, too. I actually tend to take a different approach. I invite most of the folks I meet on Twitter to be my LinkedIn partners, too. Mostly because they're all PR or marketing folks like us and I want to be connected with those brains in more ways than just through Twitter. I want to nurture and feed my network. And the more folks I connect with the better, in my view. I think that helps you learn different perspectives, uncover new opportunities and could even help you find a job. I don't think your approach or mine is necessarily right or wrong--just depends on how you look at it.

Good post, my friend.

@arikhanson

Arik C. Hanson, APR said...

This is a conversation we've had before. For me, it's all about time. I've chosen to spend the bulk of my time on Twitter and creating unique content that adds value to the conversation through my blog. Any free time outside of that I spend on other folk's blogs, like yours, adding my two cents to the conversation. Quite frankly, I don't have time for FB, YouTube and other accounts on a regular basis. Sure, I visit them from time to time, and keep in touch with those I need to, but for the most part I've made a deliberate decision to invest my time in areas where I think I add the most value.

The voice thing is interesting, too. I actually tend to take a different approach. I invite most of the folks I meet on Twitter to be my LinkedIn partners, too. Mostly because they're all PR or marketing folks like us and I want to be connected with those brains in more ways than just through Twitter. I want to nurture and feed my network. And the more folks I connect with the better, in my view. I think that helps you learn different perspectives, uncover new opportunities and could even help you find a job. I don't think your approach or mine is necessarily right or wrong--just depends on how you look at it.

Good post, my friend.

@arikhanson

AC said...

Excellent post here and it is an issue I have been wrestling with myself lately. I tend to follow your structure as well - using Facebook purely for friends and family and Twitter for a mixture of biz & friends. I was on LinkedIn and left but probably should go back on there - if I did I agree it would be completely professional/biz.

I will admit that I did not give enough thought to my "personal" Twitter page (@awc045) and ended up making it too personal - not that it was bad but it was not quite the message I was intending for my work interests. I am looking now to start a second/different profile to better represent my business.

Thanks for the blog - this was helpful.