Posted November 13, 2010 8:34 am by with 4 comments

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listenThe other day I was browsing Twitter and I saw a tweet that annoyed me. I guess the tweet itself wasn’t that bad, but this user has become increasingly more and more annoying. So annoying that I decided to stop following him.

Honestly, I am surprised I don’t stop following people more often. Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty easy to get along with, but the truth is that as human beings we have a tendency to act out of character on a regular basis, most often for the worst. It’s the nature of having emotions. Which got me thinking, that I bet this guy doesn’t even know he’s acting annoying, to him he’s just being himself.

Have you ever listened to a recording of your voice? Sounds strange doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound at all what you think you sound like. Just like off the internet, most social media users don’t listen to their online voice either. When was the last time you went back and re-read your tweets from the day? Or browsed the comments you left on Facebook.

For many of us, social media has become such an integral part of our daily lives, that we have forgotten that our words and digital voices can, and do have impact. As marketers forgetting this fact can be dangerous.

As Internet marketers we have a responsibility to the following:

Stay on point. If you are using social media as part of a business strategy for your clients or yourself, you must have a clearly defined agenda and don’t stray off point. This means don’t talk excessively about things that distract from your message. It’s fine to add different topics and ideas to further dialog, but staying off point for to long, can redefine your brand in ways that you didn’t intend.

Unless your agenda is otherwise, don’t be divisive. Many of you don’t know that I used to be heavily involved in politics. Most of you don’t know this, because I make it a point to try and not talk about politics in social media. Politics, religion, and other subject are topics that bring highly charged opinions and emotions. Because of this, I try not to engage in that type of talk in social media. Unless your strategy clearly lays it out, don’t be divisive.

Elevate your community. Social media is like one giant community filled with smaller communities. These communities can be strong marketing forces that can help you push your message and agenda. The more that you empower your communities by sharing helpful resources and information, the more powerful they will become, and thus the more able to help you with your efforts.

Show responsibility with your words. Your words help spread information and ideas across the world. Because of this you have to be accurate and fair. It’s not enough to simply provide a citation. You need to evaluate if your words have merit outside the context of your immediate community. Or are you just passing gossip and sensationalism?

In the end, the most important thing to do is listen to yourself, and ask, do I like what I hear?

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