Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.
Before we start, the title of this post comes from being an Oscar Wilde fan, not a Reese Witherspoon fan, but above all, I am a fan of “earnest” conversation.
I have a lot of interests. It’s an extensive list, but at the very top – in the number one spot – is conversation. Conversations take place everywhere: homes, offices, airplanes, cars, elevators and cafes. The only thing that matters to me, regardless of the setting, is that the conversation is interesting, so I even enjoy the idea of conversation in places like Facebook.
As an avid user of social media sites for both personal and business use, the differences in conversation-style is among the most important aspects to get right, and it comes from understanding that a proper balance of personableness and professionalism needs to be maintained, and in most circumstances, the two elements lean in opposite directions.
Consider a “scale-of-justice” – type scale, with the weights being personableness and professionalism. Depending on which brand I am building (my own or my client’s), I will use a different mixture of the two.
When I post content on my personal Facebook page, I’m not afraid to get personal. After all, it is my PERSONAL page, and the people I have befriended on my page are my friends, meaning that they know my personality, my likes, my dislikes, etc. in which case, it should not come across as any surprise when I post a link to a site or news story regarding a seemingly controversial religious or political topic (two subjects we are taught to avoid discussing with most clients) . When I make a post on my personal page, it might be a link to an interesting research study, it might be a witty joke or where my book is being sold (one thing it will NOT be is about my lunch). Professionalism comes the accuracy of the information I am basing my commentary on, and my goal is to incite chatter and communication among the people I know.
Posting content for a client, in most cases, is different. Posting a controversial news story regarding religion or politics is generally bad practice. A much stronger emphasis is placed on maintaining professionalism, and while personableness is still relevant, it is not the main driving force. Updates for clients often involve company or industry news, product promotions, deals and specials, etc., and while some of this news may be personal or controversial to competitors, the mainstream should, at the minimum, feel educated after reading it, and hopefully respond positively (and, unless I am writing for a restaurant, I still do not post about lunch).
Content for clients is meant to be insightful and intriguing. The conversation-style revolves around people staying informed and hitting the “like” button, so it is common sense why professionalism is the base. From there, infusing the proper bit of personableness is what takes the post from average to earnest.
Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book Don’t Waste Your Hands in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.