When posting a tweet or anything on a social network you are clearly affecting your personal brand. But what about the organizations and companies you are affiliated with? Whenever we put something out there, whether it is a single email or a post to an unknown number of people, it affects our brands. Be careful not to proclaim yourself capable of public relations or marketing campaigns for your company or yourself.
In this new world of easy access media, it is easy to send something to the masses. It can, of course, be annoying to hear about all the petty things from people out there. But that is fair-play. If you're going to join those groups and post your thoughts then expect others to do the same. Consider when your Linked-in, Plaxo, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or any other social or business network pushes to you all the little things people are doing like the following:
- John is... traveling to Causumel next week.
- Peter... has recommended Alan.
- Sue... has joined UCLA Alumni Career Assistance program.
- Charlie...believes your company's fundamentals are critical to your growth and performance in the new economy.
Put on your skeptical hat for a moment.
- John has too much cash and time to spend.
- Peter is doing his friend Alan a favor.
- Sue needs a job.
- Charlie is a consultant, hopefully not in marketing.
Let's face it, each time we read one of these, we alter our mental picture (brand) of the person at the other end, whether we've met them or not. That is what public relations is all about. There is no real privacy on the web. When we go to supper with our dearest friends and talk about God or our drinking habits we don't expect our prospect at Monday's sales call to know we did beer bongs in college. Social and business networking on the web are inseparable.
Companies are finding incriminating information about recruits on Facebook or MySpace which can cripple the recruit's career before it even begins. And when I read that an old friend from Bank of America is going to Cozumel after his return from Hawaii it only feeds the fat-cat image of banking.
This has been a warning. Andy Worhal's 60 seconds of fame may have become 60 years of fame for those of usewho use all these tools. And fame, like PR, isn't always good. The use of social and business networking should be part of a crafted business (or personal) strategy. Think before you leap.
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