I’ve been wanting to write this for awhile, but I was afraid people would think I was being mean! See, the entire essence of the post! In today’s digital era, communications are confined to digital methods, but that doesn’t mean professionalism should fall way side due to the method. Your online communication is the same as the dress you wear in front of your client. Is it what you want your clients and colleagues to perceive?
I *shamefully* admit that I have probably committed one or all of these on a daily basis – we’re human! Being vigilant and recognizing the need is half the battle!
Here are five quick ways to ensure you’re maintaining professionalism on the web.
1. Watch your punctuation and capitalization
Punctuation can change the entire tone of a message! (I’m a habitual exclamation point user, admittedly!) This is true when interacting with fellow vendors, photographers and clients alike.
“I didn’t get your response.” can turn into “I didn’t get your response!?” and sound agitated/harsh on the web. True, it’s on both the writer and reader to manage the tone in which it is interpreted, however, we as the writers can head off any negative readings; just watch punctuation!
TYPING IN ALL CAPS = SCREAMING! LOL Seriously though, it can come across negative, just like the punctuation.
2. Watch abbreviations
Not everyone is up on the photography lingo. Especially when writing clients spell it out. SOOC for us may mean something totally different to a client or even a newer photographer!
3. Remember who is watching
This is a huge one! Especially when majority of business is enacted on the web. Say for instance, I go into a store and overhear someone say, “I haven’t heard back from you” or “I haven’t gotten my product.” I just entered the store. I don’t know how long you’ve been waiting or if there was a back order or a legitimate reason (like a death or family illness) that may have gotten in the way. I encourage you to confine communications on public forums and business fan pages to information that won’t shed a negative light on the vendor and yourself. It could be an innocent miscommunication and potentially cause a loss of business and bad marketing to a vendor or fellow photographer.
If it is a case where the individual isn’t responding, seek alternatives just to be sure! But I’d hate to be a negative nancy that potentially loses a sale for someone because I didn’t seek out these alternatives.
4. Don’t use Facebook or Twitter direct messages
Many may disagree with me on this, but I believe in keeping a professional front as much as possible. So utilize your custom email address! No matter what though, it makes it easier 🙂
5. Be mindful
Most importantly, be mindful that people have lives outside of the internet! Especially for photographers that often have other careers and/or families at home to care for. Be respectful and allow people a sufficient time to respond. If they haven’t, gently remind them because technology does mess up and it doesn’t get to them! Just because they are updating their social media doesn’t mean they are working! There are drip campaigns or even “on the go” techniques that allow for one to keep the social marketing going but may not have had access to respond.
Marketing is in everything including your communications. Be watchful and professional!
Obviously, this isn’t all inclusive and I’m not immune from these…just a few tips to send you off this weekend! Have a good one!