My dog is one of the most friendly, outgoing, and trusting creatures on the face of this earth. He thinks every living being is a friend, and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He lives by the concept “what’s mine is yours”, and can read a room better than most humans. If there’s a group of people at the house, he will take a toy to each person to make sure everyone in the room feels involved. If he senses one of those people is scared of dogs, he will gradually place more toys at the feet of that person as a peace offering. Seriously, he’s probably more polite than me.
But he also knows his boundaries and constantly learns from his mistakes. If he’s at the dog park and runs up to a dog who nearly bites his head off, he remembers to avoid that dog the next time. Nobody needs that negativity in their life! He’s just here to have fun, make friends, and be happy. I can’t help but notice how his giddy presence just attracts people and other animals, in most cases.
So this got me thinking. How can we, as humans, take this approach when interacting with strangers, in particular, on the internet? How can we make the world a better place by greeting people differently and reacting to negative situations with positivity?
Let’s start with your social media profiles. Your picture needs to be nice, bright, and visible. You need to be clear about who you are, what you do, and your intentions for using the social media platform. Are you there to post your daily meals or your exercise routine, will you be selling products, or are you just there to socialize and share information? Be clear in this intention. DO NOT, under any circumstances, send auto-DM’s to people who follow you. That’s where my dog would draw the line and back off because you were a grumpy old dog begging for attention and just made this experience not fun for him anymore.
Everything you do and say needs to reflect how you want to be perceived. Nicole Phillips, a wonderful blogger writing about the art of kindness, said this past weekend “does what you post online reflect who you want to be?”. Every time you post, no matter on what platform, this needs to be the focus. Even if you simply like a funny meme making fun of something, that post could show up in your followers feed, and it may not represent you properly.
You want to draw people in with your web presence and make them feel like they can trust you. You want to turn doubters into useful connections, and you want to share valuable information. Let’s go back to the concept of “what’s mine is yours”, and how my dog shares his toys with guests. You want to curate useful content for your followers, and be unique in your visual presentation. A good social media participant will share their insights to help build a knowledgable community, not keep them bottled up for their own selfish gain. Don’t just share what everyone else is doing or be a copy cat. BE YOU!
After all, that’s why you got into social media in the first place, right? You wanted to share your story, your business, and your life. You didn’t sign up just to show off what celebrities and social influencers are doing. Just like my dog, we’re all here to have fun, make friends, and be happy. And nobody can accomplish that for you, but you.