At a recent event, I was talking to a senior accountant about social media. I asked if he used Twitter or had a blog? To which he answered no! I asked why and he said he was worried about the death threats and negative comments! He had heard about celebrities getting death threats over twitter and worried that it might happen to him.
I asked what he would tweet about if he tweeted and he suggested a particularly intricate area of offshore tax something-or-other. I reassured him that he was very unlikely to get any death threats, but the conversation illustrated how some very clever people can worry about sticking their heads above the parapet when it comes to blogging and social media.
To most of us “Imposter syndrome” is a very real worry when it comes to posting things online. Will we get it wrong? Will someone pick holes in what we say? Will we be publicly ridiculed, or harm our businesses or be taken out of context? Here are my thoughts on how you can get round this issue:
Make a plan – Everything works better if you have a plan! Define your audience, work out what channels they use, work out the sort of topics you are going to concentrate on and stick to it. Our accountant above might decide that his audience are high net worth individuals that don’t use twitter or LinkedIn, and that his topic would be how they can cut their tax bills. From this exercise he might decide that the best channel to use would be a weekly newsletter or update email and immediately the anxiety about twitter has gone!
Stick to what you know – If you have spent years learning about your niche, and more years helping your clients in that niche, it’s very unlikely that there are many people out there that can challenge what you have to say. The ones that do are probably equally knowledgeable and as such unlikely to post childish comments or stupid responses. If they disagree with your views, you can start a conversation or debate, agree to disagree or learn something from each other.
Ask a colleague –Unless you have a particularly miserable bunch of colleagues, it’s likely that someone would be happy to take a quick look at your post or tweet before you send it out into the world. If your colleagues that work in the same field agree with what you have to say, it can really help with your confidence when it comes to posting it.
Set up an informal approval loop –Some blogging platforms have this built in, you can request approval from someone else in your company or ask for their comments on what you have to say.
Sticks and Stones – Shoehorning in an old adage, but when it comes to blogging and social, it’s very true. Almost all the people that put up negative comments make themselves look stupid, especially if they are basking in anonymity. Spend five minutes reading the comments on the Daily Mail website and see if you can find one comment that makes you think well of the person that posted it.
Finally, believe in yourself and get out there and do it, you will be surprised at the amount of decent, positive people that will retweet your tweets, like your blog posts and even contact you to start a conversation.