The world of business has become so much easier to navigate because of technology. We can find decision makers and organizational charts so easily on social media sites like LinkedIn. We can find everything about a business person through a simple Google search. We can make decisions about where to do business by reviews on Google local listings, Yelp, and the millions of grade and directory sites. On our iPhones and Android devices we can pretty much run our business lives from A to Z.
But let’s think about the dangers this represents. Not only in our personal, “consumer” lives, but also in our world of everyday business. Doing business, as we all know in professional B2B sales, has as much to do with our good reputation, trust, and credibility, as it does our knowledge and experience in our area of focus. When we think about all the things that could go wrong because of technology, it can get worrisome.
So that you can continue to build that strong, positive, visible online personal brand, I put together my top 10 things I recommend as social media/mobile etiquette that you should never do from your mobile phone:
1. Write or Respond to a Prospect Email in a Hurry
How many times have you been so excited to respond to good news email from a client or prospect that you went ahead and thumbed away on your phone a response that later you regretted?
If you must use your phone to respond to emails because you may be a solopreneur or just that busy, at least take the time to stop in your tracks, literally (stop walking), to think about their email and your response. Then make sure to append any statement with an offer to arrange a call to discuss further. This will help to ensure you don’t leave any assumptions on the table.
2. Edit Your LinkedIn Profile
I literally cringe when I am delivering any one of my LinkedIn group trainings and some person inevitably starts to edit their LinkedIn profile on their phone. I have to yell, please stop! Your LinkedIn profile as a B2B executive or sales person is so important to your social sales success. Why would you jeopardize it for the sake of a few minutes? This applies, in my opinion, to any editing of any social media or other profiles. Do it from your computer when you have the time to do it right.
3. Post Pictures on Facebook Without Editing
This is a biggie. Just because you get your picture taken at a business event or take a photo of your co-workers enjoying some fun outing does in no way mean the world needs to see it now. Using photos to show the life behind your organization on Facebook is just fine. In fact, it is certainly one of the items I check off for good social community development for B2B companies. However, without any idea of how the photo will be used and how it supports your company’s social media marketing plan, the pictures could be doing more damage than good.
4. Tag Co-Workers, Employees, or Bosses on Facebook
Aligned with number three, never ever tag co-workers, etc. on Facebook without their permission. In the same vein, also keep track of when you are tagged on any social networking site and provide rules to anyone who tags you so that you always have your best foot forward online.
5. Automatically Add Your Phone Pictures to Your G+ Account
Again, technology makes it way too easy to add your multimedia to literally every social network. With Google Plus, a rich community-based network, you can save your newly taken phone photos right to your profile. You can add G+ posts right to your WordPress Blog. The list goes on with G+. Be careful. G+ is a great social network, but you need to be careful with what you post, distribute, and share. As with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, also with G+ you need to plan your content carefully to serve and protect your personal online brand.
6. Use Financial Applications to Make Payments
There are many great apps to make payments to workers and vendors available in the Android or iTunes stores. Be careful. Some people may hate checks (myself included), however they do support financial security. Some apps even announce that you just made a payment and what it is for to the social community. I think that crosses the line in many ways. You work hard, and in this global economy, very hard for your money. You don’t want to run any risk of losing it due to identity theft issues (check Lifelock stats if you don’t believe me – in 2012 ID theft was up 33 percent from the previous year).
7. Keep Any Auto Signatures
You know when you first get that iPhone how all outgoing messages have that “sent from my iPhone” message? That also applies to LinkedIn messaging. Avoid the auto-signature trap. Take the time to create and deliver a custom signature that includes your actual phone number.
8. Log-In to Any Secure Sites
I would never ever log in to my online bank account from my phone. The same is true for any password-protected sites that in any way manage your business. Some business people I have seen do website edits on the fly. That is just not smart, in my opinion. Again, take your time. Put priorities around sites that you feel are too important to share with the world and avoid phone log-ins.
9. Leave Your Phone in Public With No Password
Similarly to number eight, make sure your phone is always protected. Think of it as your ATM card. Make a password no one knows. Don’t leave it out in the open (as the MTA says). Keep it secure both physically and data-wise.
10. Allow It to Ring or Vibrate in Any Meeting
My personal least favorite. Pretend you are at the movies every time you step into a meeting. Turn it off if you can, but at the very least make sure it doesn’t make a peep. You could miss out on important information that could help your business or career by playing with your phone.
I am very sure you ClickZ readers have a lot more to say on this subject. Pour it on. Let me know what things you don’t do on your phone in business. The key to this article and to my overall message is to illustrate the fact that although we can run our entire business lives through our phone at rapid rates, in no way is it appropriate. At the end of the day, we are doing business human-to-human.