Social media can be a fantastic way to create your brand. Of course, it can be a super effective way to destroy it, too.
Karma is a short and exotic way of saying that what goes around, comes around.
In the cosmic vastness of social media, the Golden Rule indeed rules: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.
Meaning, what you put out on Facebook, share in Twitter, and add to Instagram or Snapchat, may one day come back to bless you OR bite you.
Karma Cuts Both Ways
One of the fastest and most effective ways to get more business is to build a strong social media presence. Yet, like a sword, social media cuts both ways. You have to wield it well in order for you and your brand to benefit from its immense potential. If you don’t, it can come back around and cut you. Badly.
So how do you keep good karma flowing? Especially in the wide, wild world of anonymous posters, trolls, and plagiarists who can undo your good deeds in a moment – and get away with it?
Let Others Save Face
While it’s tempting to say your honest thoughts in social media, sometimes it’s far safer to let another person save face. So what if maybe the writer of an article got a few facts mixed up? Instead of pointing out the glaring error, you may want to go the quiet route and private message the author about his or her oversight.
Sure, you can criticize the author and brag about your eagle-eyed ability to spot mistakes (and in the process earn the author’s ire). On the other hand, you could also be gracious and kind about the author’s shortcomings.
After all, who knows… what if, down the road, you have a piece published in a big shot venue, but you accidentally bungle your facts? If you have been polite at pointing out other people’s mistakes, it’s likelier that they will be polite in pointing out yours.
Hat Tip the Originator
Social media brims with deliberate violators of intellectual property rights. However, YOU want to give credit where credit is due. Not just because you wish to avoid jail, but because it’s ethical and courteous to hat tip the originator of an idea, photo, or illustration. You wouldn’t want someone else to steal what is yours, would you?
Good karma also comes back to you when you are genuinely curious and appreciative of another’s work. Making a person look good to his or her followers is one of the time-tested social media success and entrepreneurship strategies that works to the benefit of both influencer and follower.
By applying nuggets of wisdom that influencers have shared and reporting back to your tribe the successes and lessons you’ve learned from their suggestions, you may have just earned backlinks or shout-outs from those influencers down the road.
Lastly, remember that while you can sometimes get away with anonymity on social media, it’s not guaranteed that you will. And you shouldn’t consider it carte blanche to do things you know you shouldn’t. Author and cultural critic Lee Siegel once assumed another character under a false name on The New Republic website. It didn’t take long, however, for an astute reader to accuse him (the real “him”) of using a “sock puppet” to attack his critics and defend himself on his blog. It also didn’t take long for the publication to uncover his double identity and suspend him for unethical behavior.
Sometimes the vastness of the Internet gives a false sense of security that we can get away with virtual misdoings by hiding under an anonymous blanket. Yet, if you are secretly sowing seeds of malice and mischief, you’re setting yourself up in a self-sabotaging environment.
Nobody wants to hang out, even virtually, with someone who gives off a negative vibe. Even if you are not outed, the Internet world may go radio silent on you just when you need those retweets, likes, shares, or hat tips.
Create your brand by being transparent with who you are and what you stand for. With thoughtful planning and effort, your readers will find you. And the people you’ve been gracious to along the way just might send thousands of their readers to your site and propel you and your brand to new heights.
Icon Credits (thenounproject.com):
Julynn B.; Wes Breazell; Kantunger; Sage McElroy; Arthur Shlain; Creative Stall