Tag Archive:communication

ByKaty Roberts

Direct and Indirect social communication – and why you need to take notice

What you say says a lot about you (obvs). What you don’t say, also says a lot about you. But how you behave is a foghorn in the mist that truly broadcasts exactly what it would be like to work with you.

Recently, the topic of indirect communication has come up in several conversations I’ve had with fellow business owners, and clients.

Here’s the deal.

Social Media: It’s a thing that allows us to promote ourselves to whoever will follow, building an audience for our services, giving us a bigger platform to broadcast from and share our news, right?  Well, sort of.

What many of us tend to forget is the indirect side of Social Media (and for the sake of this blog, I’ll include what we put on our website too).

What you don’t say on social media speaks louder for you than you probably care to realise.

Here’s an example (and I do love a great anecdotal example).

I have a friend who lived in the US, and who, together with his wife and children, tragically passed away in 2016. At the time, I sent my condolences to the extended family members – none of whom I actually knew. Not expecting a response, I nonetheless received a friendship request from the wife’s mom. Happily, I accepted, but that was the end of our correspondence. We’ve never really spoken. Fast forward to a year later, and out of the blue, I receive a message from her this past week (again, we have never met, and never actually spoken), which reads (and I paraphrase), “Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy you! You are such a bright light in this crazy world. Thanks again for making me smile”.

And then it hit me.

How I have behaved indirectly, has created an impression (thankfully a good one!) of what I am like, as a person, while at the same time, actually having forgotten that I had given access to my profile, I had been acting completely naturally, without agenda or fear, and without much pre-meditated thought.  She had built up an understanding of who I am as an individual, what I would be like to know and to such a degree that she has invited me to visit them when next I am in the US.

Turning towards the business communication where social interactivity is a much more planned, thought-out, pre-meditated activity which aims to show branded messaging, company vision, but at the same time practiced spontaneity to appear human, likeable and someone easy to do business with.  But how easy do we really make it for our customers to get a handle on who we are?  Do you give your customer enough information that allows them to interpret indirect communication into an impression that will leave them wanting to do business with you?

Here are a few ways that you can do that:

  • Membership of Groups
  • Customer testimonials / references
  • Articles you follow / like / share / comment on
  • Individuals you communicate with (or don’t communicate with).
  • Causes you believe in and support
  • Language you use in your posts (confrontational, friendly, jargon-based, indifferent)

All of the above are elements of your social profile that speaks for you, and represents what you stand for. All of these are things that allow your customer a little bit of insight into who you are as an organisation – without you broadcasting it yourself.

Think about your own LinkedIn profile for a second (if you have one).

Example A: The profile which tells the reader all about what you’ve done and why they need to pay attention to you. You’re probably telling us that you have done several amazing things, and succeeded at many impressives tasks.  Great.

Example B: The profile which does the above, but also demonstrates ex-colleague / client testimonials which echo your Amazingness, groups that you belong to that echo the services you provide, a profile picture that is befitting of the audience you’re trying to capture, volunteer activities or causes that you’re passionate about (which may note have anything to do with the services you provide).

Which profile would result in a higher level of confidence in the person in question? The one where the individual is doing all the talking, or the one where the things s/he does, belongs to, believes in, echoes what they’re telling you about themselves?

If you’re not standing out – there’s a reason why. You need to allow your customer the opportunity to develop their impression of you – and hopefully, it will be a good one. If not – then we need to talk.