How many times have you told someone to find you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter? Countless, right? Because that’s how we communicate these days. It’s normal.
The idea that someone prohibited us from saying that is ridiculous. But that is exactly what the French government is doing its citizens. Because as of June 6, 2011 –the words “Twitter” and “Facebook” will be officially banned on French media.
Why? They say they are doing this to be fair. One spokeswoman for France’s Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) said that all this usage of “Twitter” and “Facebook” has given the social networks an advantage against the millions of others sites that are struggling for recognition.
But when has preference stopped competitors from springing up? I pretty sure many of you reach for a tissue while simultaneously calling it a Kleenex. And, as far as I know, that hasn’t stopped the tissue industry from growing.
What I mean is that, whether one likes it or not, Twitter and Facebook are the big dogs and the trendsetters. If another network like Twitter appears, I guarantee we will still think of it as tweeting. They are intertwined in our lives like that.
Banning the words, regardless of what one thinks, won’t make Facebook and Twitter go away. Right? Right?
Thanks to New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, we now have WeinerGate. I’m referring to the tweet originating from Congressman Andrew Weiner's twitter account in which a photo of a man’s bulging gray underwear was tweeted to a woman follower and which was then retweeted to thousands of people.
Of course New York Congressman Anthony Weiner calls it a “prank”; he claims it resulted from someone hacking into his twitter account. Hmmm… convenient or truly a hacked twitter account????
Hacking IS a common issue on most social media sites. But was Congressman Weiner truly a victim of hacking? Or perhaps it wasn’t a hacked account that resulted in Weinergate. Perhaps he meant to share the photo privately with the one follower not thinking how easy it is for someone to just repurpose the information or retweet it. That’s the other problem with social media websites and putting things out there for others to see without thinking it through. Things can be taken out of context and there's not much you can do about it.
Talking about hacking, I can't underscore the importance of properly managing your online accounts. Hacking is a real issue and it can be prevented by regularly changing your password. Also, make sure that your password is a bit more complicated than your birth date, street address, or using common words like “password” as your password. Simple strategies like using characters such as $ or % in the password, using upper and lower case letters along with a number or two makes for a more sturdy password. The sturdier your password, the better protected your online activities.
Criminal activity on social media websites continues to grow. But then so does stupid behavior on social media websites. Why is it so difficult for people to curb the instinct to bare everything in public? Why do people not realize that once it’s out there, it’s out there???
As if it wasn’t difficult enough to balance work-life and family, now we have to balance work-life, family, and social networking. We are constantly “twitching” to share where we are, what we are doing, what we plan to do, etc. to our network.
But all this sharing is creating havoc in many lives. People are getting fired for posting inappropriate information. We hear of robberies stemming from status updates announcing vacation plans. And although reports about Facebook causing divorces and death announcements made online through Twitter may be laughable to some of us, the reality is that this is the world we live in today.
As business owners, we find ourselves in an even more of a quandary. Do we focus on growing the business or do we spend time online, building larger networks to grow our visibility and branding?
Well, ideally, businesses should rely on marketing professionals to manage their social properties so that it can be done right and done in a comprehensive manner so as to generate the desired results. However, as a business owner, if you are in a chicken or an egg situation of whether to invest the money or the time doing it yourself, here are some baby steps to help you get started:
- Create your personalized profile on no more than two or three social networks. I recommend two. You can choose from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, and Youtube.
- Download Twitter and Facebook on your smart-phone (I assume you have a smart-phone. If not, get one pronto.)
- Until you get into the habit of it, put down a recurring event on your calendar to post at least once or twice a day on Twitter and Facebook.
- Make your posts count. It’s ok to announce “I’m at Starbucks” of course. But what’s the value of it? Why not post “Going to Starbucks to meet a prospective client” or “Getting coffee to wake me up before I get to work, anyone else feel like I do” is so much more interactive and enables engagement from others.
- Create Google alerts for news items that are interesting and relevant to your business. Post those with a comment and you benefit by sharing ready-to-use content with others.
- If sharing photos and videos, use the many tools that are available to do this sharing across multiple platforms through one single post.
- Stay connected regularly through smart-phones to maintain the momentum. Out of sight IS out of mind when it comes to online marketing.
Social networking is here to stay. Sooner or later, you’ll have to get familiar and become engaged online. But it doesn’t have to be at the expense of family and business. Leverage smart-phones, apps, and other tools to remain connected without sacrificing too much of your family time. Hire experts to do your marketing so that you aren't spending your time tweeting and Facebooking when you should be spending it on business development and growth.