• Walking the walk: How (not) to be taken seriously on social media

    Walking the walk: How (not) to be taken seriously on social media

    How are you coming across on social media?

    In my previous career as a magazine editor, I would often come across a strange phenomenon. Contacting athletes for a feature or interview, I was often struck by how many did not match what they put out through their social media channels.

    I’m not talking about Photoshopped images and Instagram filters. This was more about how they would choose to interact with the world. Athletes who preach focus, consistency and dedication barely put in the effort to use proper punctuation in message. Posts that castigated others for being lazy came from people who couldn’t be bothered to fill out a Q&A. Those who spoke of respect and ‘getting it done’ every day took weeks to reply to an email.

    And often those who tried to motivate people with platitudes like ‘if you want something, you just have to hustle’ would lose their motivation when our media outlet would try to engage with these athletes, be it setting up a meeting, asking for some content, an image or anything that might help their brand out — suddenly they weren’t very motivated. So much for hustle.

    Obviously in the fitness industry these kinds of posts mostly refer to fitness. Still, it struck me that these athletes who presumably wanted exposure and potential business would not apply their successful philosophies in one area (fitness) to how they dealt with the rest of the world (media, business, etc.).

    (Indeed, it’s no coincidence that those who manage to apply one discipline to another are often very successful.)

    Helpful hints

    However, it is possible that some people do not realise that this is how they are coming across. In fact, I’m sure most of the people I’m thinking of would be horrified to know. In that spirit, here are a few helpful hints to being taken seriously outside of the social media world (aka the real world):

    • Don’t preach consistency and attention to detail when there are spelling errors all through your social posts.

    • Don’t bang on about hard work when you can’t be bothered getting back to people in a timely manner.

    • Check each post before it goes out and evaluate it for what you’re actually communicating. Is it something that fits with how you genuinely see the world or have you jumped on a bandwagon?

    • Don’t go on about staying humble and having respect in your social posts when you’re rude to people who want to contact you.

    • Understand that when somebody gets in touch, they are a potential client, customer or contact. If you are truly too busy, send a quick reply acknowledging that you received their message and you’ll endeavor to get back to them when you can.

    These obviously don’t only apply for those in the fitness industry. Anyone who uses social media to engage with clients, customers or fans should be aware of how their non-social media behaviour can impact their perception and reputation.

    Takeaway message

    If you’re a social media personality trying to inspire your followers to do ANYTHING — buy your product, become your client, follow your page, whatever it might be — don’t go against what you’re saying in your posts in your dealings with your fans, the media and, by extension, the world in general.

    Sure, we all have personas online. Our social media presence does not equal the sum of our value as a person. That said, if you’ve decided to have a social media presence, what you put out there better be at least somewhat representative of you as a person.

    And who knows? Maybe you’ll even become more successful as a result.

    If you’re an athlete or business that needs help with their social media strategy, get in touch with us at Hook Media.

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