Last week, I had to dig up an old deck we’d created in 2011 to pitch Pinterest to our team internally. I’m sure you all know the drill – a new social platform appears and at first you don’t trust it… convinced it’ll die in a matter of weeks. Then, given it lasts past the 6-month honeymoon period, the distrust turns into simple skepticism. More time passes, and the stats and growing popularity give you no choice but to accept the channel as legit and consider it for your business. The deck reflected the skepticism period for Pinterest at Nebo. At the time, a platform made up of mostly visuals was a tough sell for anyone besides B2C brands that wanted to grab the attention of users with pretty pictures of products, etc.
But, as we all know, Pinterest would go on to prove us wrong. Its popularity grew at an exponential rate - since 2012, Pinterest users have increased by 145 percent. According to Nielson’s 2012 Social Media Report, Pinterest shows the most growth of all social platforms year-over-year at +1,047 percent. So, Pinterest isn’t going anywhere. But so many companies are still having a difficult time achieving their goals there.
I believe I've discovered why and the reason relates directly to lack of attention to social etiquette: Pinterest is interest-focused, whereas most other social channels are relationship-focused.
As PR professionals, it is often a large part of our daily responsibilities to manage our firm’s social media channels. If you’re new in the field, there can be some growing pains as you try to understand the different platforms and the messaging appropriate for each channel while still maintaining brand authenticity. If you’re a bit more experienced, it can be very easy to forget the small things that make big differences in your social strategies. In this series, I’m exploring some of the most popular social channels for brands to present one of the most commonly neglected elements of brand messaging: social media etiquette.
Today, LinkedIn will be the center of attention. I want to discuss good manners for social marketers who manage their company pages, share common best practices and outline the general do’s and don’ts for interacting on behalf of a company on this professional networking channel.
That said, I want to stress that this post’s intention is not to teach you how to manage your company’s LinkedIn account. There are tons of resources out there that already do that. (Here are some I've found particularly useful - Mashable's LinkedIn article archive, an article about best practices for brands on LinkedIn from Hootsuite and, of course, the obvious yet under-utilized LinkedIn-sponsored resource center for company pages.) The purpose here is to highlight proper LinkedIn etiquette. You’d think good manners would be obvious, but many become oblivious to social standards when they have their company’s agenda in mind. I never cease to be surprised at some of the inappropriate content I see on LinkedIn — from start-ups to Fortune 500 firms alike. Hopefully, these tips will recalibrate you to be more human-centered in your online engagement.
I recently had a very frank conversation with my 18-year-old brother after I came across his Twitter profile for the first time. Maybe this was the overbearing big sister in me taking over, but I felt like it was my personal duty to give him the "social media is big, and it's not going away" speech that my generation has drilled into my head. I was shocked to find out, all via his Twitter feed mind you, that my shy and reserved little brother had become the life of the weekend parties, had developed quite the potty mouth AND, to top it all off, was a week away from getting a tattoo on his back of Super Mario Brothers. (This was the same brother who very recently ran out of our doctor's office waiting room crying and hiding under desks in the hallway to avoid a routine shot.)
I'm not being judgmental here. In fact, I would support any decision of his that he was truly passionate about; however, none of these new "decisions" he was bragging about to the Twitterverse were HIM. I didn’t know where this was coming from, but the bigger problem was that he didn’t understand the consequences of this cool-man identity (slash immature 18-year-old attempt to fit in) that he was putting out there. He didn’t get that he was shaping his reputation with everything he tweeted, no matter how trivial a sentence seemed at the time...it all was a reflection of his person.
This shouldn’t be a newsflash because in my opinion it's very, very old news. So, old newsflash people: the virtual you is you. There is no faking, deceiving, hiding or avoiding it. Whether you’re an avid philosophical poster or you simply upload albums of your family vacays, everything that comes from your profile(s) embodies a form of you: your values, friends, beliefs, affiliations, opinions and experiences. That’s a pretty big deal. Yes, as I’ve found out, it’s hard to convince a social media newbie about the impact of social media before they’ve experienced the positive and negative consequences of their actions and interactions over time. Long story short, I am no Winston Churchill when it comes to speech giving, so my big sister advice went in one ear and out the other.
My brother remained silent on the other end of the line until I was done, said ‘okay’ and we ended the call. I was very pleased with my etiquette EDU session until I logged on to Twitter to see he had been live-tweeting about our conversation the whole time:
"If you have a problem with me, #1 way NOT to fix it is to stalk my Twitter then lecture me about it. #sorrynotsorry"
"Going on 15 minute phone call with my sister...She really just said: 'the virtual you' in reference to Twitter. #sorrynotsorry"
I may not be able to convince my brother of the value of social media etiquette yet, but there's no doubt in my mind that he will learn in due time because he went too far, or didn’t think before typing.
The biggest symbol of the holiday season is of course, the Christmas tree. Real, plastic or made from semi-recyclable materials, it represents joy, wonder, hopes, dreams and the inevitable glee at what lies underneath come Christmas morning. With much anticipation for being with family and friends around our own Christmas trees soon, we took a look at some of the year's best, and most interesting, pine tree presentations. We invite you to take a look at some of the most amazing trees from around the world, and to share some of your memories of what you found under your own tree growing up.
Anyone who’s ever read a boilerplate knows that there’s a certain amount of baloney involved. You know the boilerplate; it's the cookie-cutter nonsense, usually at the end of the press release, extolling the virtues of whatever company wrote it. Essentially, it's an "About Our Company" paragraph (e.g. "Nebo is a human-centered interactive agency. We believe that great work comes from...") that can be pasted into whatever the PR department is sending to publishers. Although they're pains, we accept them as somehow necessary. With that said, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the nonexistent purpose of the boilerplate as well as conduct a little experiment of our own to find out who actually reads them.