• What’s the most common piece of advice you’re most likely to give someone when they head out to meet someone new, go on a date, or interview for a job?

    “Just be yourself.”

    We offer this advice because we know that if you act naturally, you’re more likely to be comfortable and honest. People gravitate toward others who are authentic, because we feel they are trustworthy, and they make us feel comfortable. The same goes for your social media self.

    Many people are skeptical when they first venture onto Facebook or Twitter, but when they realize it’s just a new way to have conversations and connect with others, the apprehension fades quickly.

    As humans, we are social creatures and love to be connected to those around us, and social media gives us an outlet for that. But being yourself through social media can mean different things to different people.

    You can use Twitter or Facebook to promote a cause you are passionate about. You can connect with people in your community to share information or ideas on a topic that interests you – such as parenting, gardening, or business marketing. Or you can keep in touch with family and friends.

    If you are using social media for your business, this opens up a whole new world of communication directly with your clients and customers that traditional marketing doesn’t allow you to do.

    You have the unique opportunity to build an online community of like-minded people who are interested not only in your business, product, or service, but also show the more personal side of your business. And in the process, you’re building trust with your audience.

    There are caveats to using social media. Along with this new form of communication comes the responsibility to know what is appropriate to say and what isn’t.

    Nobody’s perfect.

    We’ve all heard the stories about people who have lost jobs, insurance claims, and relationships because of things they have posted online. As a friend of mine once said, “On social media, if you’re an idiot, people are going to find out.”

    Again, it’s just like offline relationships. Remember the Golden Rule, treat others with respect, be positive, give credit where credit is due.

    And of course, be yourself.

    You’ll find The Social Chicks at community events, working with local agencies and businesses, writing this regular monthly column in our community newspaper, and now hosting monthly information sessions for the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

    The first session, Planning Your Business Social Media Strategy, will be held Thursday, May 31 from 5 to 6: 30 p.m. at the chamber office, 22238 Lougheed Hwy. Visit www.thesocialchicks.com for details.

    You can also get social and ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @thesocialchicks.

    – Rebecca Vaughan has worked with businesses, government, and non-profits to plan and manage their social media presence, and when she finds spare time, she is an active “pinner” on Pinterest!

    © Copyright (c) Maple Ridge Times