I’m shocked and amazed by the countless number of people who get “caught” posting an opinion or thought on Social Media that turns out to be controversial at best and offensive at worst.
I’m not amazed that they wrote what they thought/felt…heck, we all have strong opinions on things that are important to us. But I’m amazed that someone would do it in a public forum among hundreds or even thousands of strangers. LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Tons and tons of people who think the only person reading/viewing these public displays are their closest friends and family members.
If you are in Sales, Customer Success or Customer Service you know that everyone is potentially a customer. Everyone you come across has the potential to be a business partner.
These people theoretically have never heard of you before, know nothing about you, and don’t have an opinion on you yet. So why start off the relationship with a public display of an unpopular opinion?
It’s okay to like sports, politics, and religion.
But before you expound your strong thoughts and clever analogies…why don’t you take the audience’s temperature first?
Neutrality and Invisibility
Unless, of course, you are a political pundit. Then you get paid to have an opinion. But if you are reading this humble blog…odds are you are not. You’re a guy or a gal who gets paid to introduce the general public to your products and services. And by that I mean all of the general public.
Years ago, I attended a concert at Yankee Stadium. Very popular rock band was playing. One of my favorites, actually. In the middle of the concert, the lead singer decided to embark on a 10 minute “skit” that constituted insulting a politician that I personally liked and supported.
I looked around this huge stadium and thought “Man…I can’t be the only person who’s offended, can I? I mean, even if only thirty percent of the audience agrees with me that’s over sixteen thousand people!”
So why do it?
Why put yourself into a position where you are publicly sharing a thought that might offend 30 percent or more of your audience?
Why not do it privately? Among friends? In person where people can “get” your tone and your intonation?
If you were making a sales call, you would do everything you could to win over the prospect, right? If you got a phone call from an angry customer, you would do everything you could to calm the customer and make them like you again, right?
In our line of business, we want to be liked and respected. It’s good business. And you know what? No one ever got offended by a guy (or gal) who did not have a polarizing view on something. Ignorance, in this case, really is bliss.
My “second half of 2018” advice to Salespeople, Customer Support people and Customer Service people is this – save the sarcasm, strong viewpoints, and deep-revealing shares for people who know you well enough to understand who you are and why you’re sharing.
Treat strangers like potential business partners and don’t give them any reason to not like you on the first date. Don’t use social media as your playground. You don’t know all the players. Assume that anything you say can and will be used against you.
Be neutral and make friends.
Never mind good “social media etiquette,” that’s just good business.
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