You may be deemed a professional because you operate a business but being professional is an action. It is a choice. In business and life, there are plain and simple human courtesies that should be extended to everyone. It shouldn’t matter who initiated the contact but when you choose to no longer engage or ignore any form of correspondence, you are no longer “being” professional.
What has happened to the Golden Rule in this age of technology? Does it allow or justify actions that would not be normally accepted in an in-person venue? If you were at a networking event, engaging in a conversation would you suddenly decide to turn your back and walk away without notice or a word? I think not. That would be extremely rude and thoughtless.
For some it may present a challenge to be completely forthright and honest with feedback and responses but if you expect the same from your network, then give back what you want in return. Everyone deserves an answer. Communicating is the foundation of every single relationship, whether business or personal, online or off.
What message are you sending to your audience, your potential buyers if you aren’t responding to social comments or posts? Your brand and reputation may suffer. As you know, word spreads fast and if you aren’t satisfying the human need for a reply to a query, you may be opening yourself up to negative reactions. Make the time to respond.
“If you’re not engaging customers during the entire product life cycle through social media, you’re missing out. Because someone else will.” –Dennis Stoutenburgh
If you ignore emails because you don’t know how to respond or are apprehensive about expressing your opinion about a product or service, don’t expect to retain a follower or gain a brand ambassador. People can deal with rejection and feedback; extend thoughtfulness with a reply.
“We’ve seen an increase in the nonresponse rather than just politely declining. You delete it and hope it goes away, just like if someone comes to your door and you pretend you’re not home.” Adam Boettiger, digital marketing consultant.
You are online, participating in your social networks, building your brand, credibility, community and network. Is it truly worthwhile or beneficial to disregard the voice of others? Deliberate silence is a poor communication strategy demonstrating a lack of respect and interest and also has the capabilities of reinforcing potential miscommunications.
Your active choice NOT respond is a very loud statement. With all of the techie gadgets sitting on your desk or in your lap, click a few keys. There is always time and a tool.
“Mobile communications and pervasive computing technologies, together with social contracts that were never possible before, are already beginning to change the way people meet, mate, work, war, buy, sell, govern and create.” Howard Rheingold
Simply put: BE Professional
- Be kind.
- Be courteous.
- Be responsive.