4 Tweetable Lessons In Social Media Civility

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The Personal Democracy Forum is by design, and sheer force of title, political. So when I ended up at the “Civility and Social Media: An Oxy-moron?” panel, I fully expected a politically charged discussion.

Yet, even as the panelist spoke on the tenor of political debate, I couldn’t help but note how applicable their advice was for businesses. And why not? Businesses who engage customers and potential customers online will face many of the same considerations, tricky situations and need for tact that political organizations deal with. (Before there was an Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal, there was a Kenneth Cole Twitter scandal.)

With that in mind, I gleamed four lessons from the panelists on how to engender a civil environment in social media, whether you’re a business, non-profit or political entity.

Lesson 1
“The Internet is starting to mirror the way that we live offline.” – Mindy Finn, co-Owner of interactive agency Engage < Tweet this!

If you consider social media divorced from reality, you’re making a mistake. While there may seem to be greater distance between the people communicating, the truth is people are becoming more comfortable with the medium. The views customers (or voters, for that matter) express online are reflections of their thoughts and feelings. Address their needs and they’re more likely to reward you with continued loyalty.

Lesson 2
“The overall twitter population is invested in having a meaningful conversation.” –
Adam Sharp, Manager of Government and Political Partnerships at Twitter. < Tweet this!

Twitter is often referred to as a micro-blogging platform. That’s too bad. If you’re using Twitter just to push out branding, you’re missing the point. Smart brands, be they personal or collective, use Twitter to establish mutually beneficial relationships with the larger community. Use it to find people who are passionate about what they do and be prepared to have meaningful conversations, not just one-way conversations.

Lesson 3
We are hardwired to see more negative stuff than positive stuff.” –
Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble < Tweet this!

Jumping on social media will likely scare some within your organization. People are going to say nice things about you. People are going to say bad things about you. The trick is training your team not to dwell exclusively on the negative. Curate the kind the words. At the same time, don’t ignore the negative – learn from it.

Lesson 4
“People want to help, they just want to be asked to help a little more often.” –
John Della Volpe, Director of Polling for the Harvard University Institute of Politics and Founder of SocialSphere < Tweet this!

John is an expert in understanding what people think and want (especially Millennials). And his advice is just as sound for business. If you want to succeed in social media, you need to seek out the influencers in your industry and engage them. You also need to find your biggest brand advocates, support them and help them become the influencers of tomorrow. Don’t overwork your online supporters, but don’t be too timid to ask either.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jesse Noyes
Jesse came to Eloqua from the newsroom trenches. As Managing Editor, it's his job to find the hot topics and compelling stories throughout the marketing world. He started his career at the Boston Herald and the Boston Business Journal before moving west of his native New England. When he's not sifting through data or conducting interviews, you can find him cycling around sunny Austin, TX.

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