Writing online professionally for social media and emails requires a totally different set of guidelines than any other form of writing. With social media becoming a lot more prominent within our society, people in the business world are finding it essential to utilize these avenues to create an online presence for themselves. Some of these people are very effective in their work, and others have slipups that can negatively impact their image. In order to prevent these slipups you must take into account so many factors and understand that once you hit the send button, your content will never completely disappear. Here a few quick tips that will hopefully prevent you from having any regret after sending something out onto the World Wide Web:
- Be Nicer: You should always strive to be a nicer person, but online it is even more crucial. You should aim to be 30% nicer online than you are in person. Sometimes a message can come off in a way that you don’t intend to, and it will result in relationship and business problems that can be easily avoided. By reading your message out loud it will be easier to hear the tone of the piece.
- Use Humor: When in doubt don’t post something that could be too “out there”, but it is okay, even beneficial, to use humor especially when trying to build an online presence and develop a following.
- Start out strong: Break up your content into smaller sections, and by leading with your strongest point you are more likely to maintain a readers’ short attention span.
- Be Relaxed: Strike a balance that does not make you come off too formal or too relaxed online. Depending on who you are trying to reach will determine the level of formality you should use. For example, when trying to reach a broader audience on LinkedIn you should write with a more formal tone than if you would be writing an update on your Facebook.
- Don’t Brag: Every month or so it is okay to update people on a major feat or accomplishment, but constant bragging gets annoying and can lead to lower followers or a negative image.
- Forever on the Internet: When you hit send, your content will forever be out in the internet. This seems to be common knowledge at this point in time where technology has become a huge part of our lives and we therefore need to monitor what we post and send, but there are constantly scandals erupting regarding social media and emails that were sent. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself before you send or post: Would this be appropriate if it were on the cover of a newspaper? (This doesn’t mean to not email business confidential information to your colleagues, but rather be aware and make sure that you aren’t saying anything that makes you sound small-minded or controversial).
- Be Aware of You Platform: A tweet is different from an email to a coworker, which is different from a Facebook post, which differs further from an email to your boss, so adjust your tone and level of formality accordingly.
- Acronyms: They help in relaxing your tone (in the appropriate setting), or getting your message across in a 140 character tweet, but don’t use too many or your message can be regarded as completely unprofessional or immature.