What My Nana Taught Me About Social Media
My Nana was a stickler for doing things right. And with Nana there was always a right way and a wrong way. (Nana = right, everyone else = wrong.)
After the holidays, the four Fitts children were required to write thank you notes and zip them off to Nana and Grandad in Boise, Idaho. Most grandparents treasure these notes, charmed by the difficult handwriting and misspellings of a young child. Not Nana. Our notes were promptly returned with corrections and highlights. To Nana, spelling, punctuation and grammar mattered. Saying ‘thank you’ was an important part of any relationship; saying it with a preposition at the end of a sentence was not tolerated.
Today we live in a world of conversational messages and hash tags. A limit of 140 characters creates the demand for shorter bits and bytes. Even so, there is no substitute for a well-crafted message. I recall a LinkedIn experience in which a young man asked me for an introduction to a CEO friend of mine. Sadly, his intro was full of misspellings. At that time, I didn't have the gumption to email him back and channel my inner Nana. I simply ignored his request.
As you peruse these tips to improve your electronic life, feel free to visualize my Nana – or yours:
Always spell check. If you know you're a challenged speller, or wonder whether ‘persuasive’ has one ‘S’ or two, get help. I love my Mozilla Firefox web browser because it points out any misspellings for me — a great little shortcut.
Proofread your postings before you submit them. I see a mistake or two a day that can be chalked up to being in a hurry. Granted, leaving out a word or typing something incorrectly isn't the end of the world. But to a reader, your postings can demonstrate your brilliance, or reveal your lack of care. Be part of the conversation, or be ignored. Why invest time in social media if you're going to be ignored?
Remember that manners matter. If you're reaching out to connect with someone, include a personal note in your request. The hollow and generic request on LinkedIn is just that, hollow and generic. It doesn't provide any context, personal or otherwise, about why you're interested in connecting.
Your friends are a reflection of you. If you’re ever concerned about a connection request from someone, simply decline. If they don't know you, they aren't likely to be offended. If you feel compelled to respond, simply reply (without accepting) and ask them to share a bit more about their request and why they think connecting would be a good idea.
Say 'thank you.' Finally, in keeping with Nana’s rules, always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ When someone sends you a connection request and you accept, quickly send a thank-you note. It helps solidify the relationship. And you can use it as an opportunity to position your business and share a bit about how you help your clients.