Avatar is defined as manifestation, appearance, or incarnation. In terms of social media in today’s world, your Avatar is your identity. You choose to make your Avatar whatever you want it to be. It is what you project to others.
There are many people who have a different image online than in person. They allow other members of their social media communities to see them as an enhanced version of themselves. Of course, there is nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward and showing other people the best of what and who you are. We all try to do that. Sometimes people are no keenly aware that what they say and how they portray themselves online and in person does not necessarily have to be the same thing.
A sense of security
Many people who communicate online feel that they have a free rein to communicate in any way that they choose. No filter is necessary. However, that is really not the case. People should express the same degree of politeness and manners as they do in person. Of course, a human being is on the other end of the communication just like a human being is the other half of the in-person conversation. Human beings have feelings and tend to react in some emotional way. It is important to always be gracious and treat people with respect, whether you are communicating in person or online.
When it comes to your social media profiles, It is extremely important to exercise discretion regarding personal details as well as the photo that you have attached to your profile. For example, if you are currently looking for a new job (or perhaps looking to increase business), your photo should show you dressed professionally (not in a T-shirt and jeans). The same concept applies when it comes to the information that you share about yourself. You need to always make sure that it is professional, appropriate, and in good taste. The last thing that you want is for people to remember you because of something personal that has absolutely nothing to do with what you are trying to accomplish professionally. Being “pigeon holed” is not a good thing.
Today’s marketplace is extraordinarily competitive and often it is vicious. In order for you to really be in a good position against your competition, you must always make sure that your behavior is professional, trustworthy, and credible. They are critical to your success. The more you interact with other people in a consistent and professional manner, the stronger your credibility will be in their eyes. Your aim should always be to have mutually beneficial, rock-solid, high-quality relationships that go on for a very long time. Whatever happens online will be there forever. In a sense, you have only one shot at each communication so you better really make it count.
So, when you give some thought to what you want your social media Avatar to be, there are several approaches that you might be able to take.
- Language: You should only use language that you feel is fit for clients and people who are at higher professional levels than you are (never curse).
- Photos: The photos that you use should show you dressed professionally and your facial expression should reflect the same thing.
- Clear communication: If you feel that you are starting to have a negative exchange with one of the people with whom you communicate online, before you jump to a conclusion, make sure that what you understand is what the other person intended. It is very possible that they are not one and the same.
- Disagreeing politely: If you happen to disagree with what someone writes to you online and you feel that you need to express your disagreement, make sure that you do it in a respectful way
- No hard sell: Everyone understands that everyone is in business to sell their products and/or services. However, nobody wants to be “sold.” It is very important that you don’t come across in an aggressive or pushy manner.
- Be nice to others: Always make sure to compliment your online connections whenever possible. You can work that into the online discussions that you have with them. A little nice behavior goes a long way.
- Give what you can: Make sure to give more than you receive. You know that you have a lot of knowledge and ideas to share. Now you have to let other people know about your talents.
- Give testimonials: Offer to give testimonials to people with whom you have worked in any capacity.
- Give credit: If other people share content with you that you feel is valuable, share it with other people you know so that the writer has an opportunity to expand his or her network.
- Consistency: It is very important to have the same Avatar on all of your social media channels. The chances are great that you will share several groups with a lot of the same people and you always want to project an image of consistency.
- Strong brand image: Your Avatar should reflect your branding, which of course, represents who you are are what you stand for. It should be strong, interesting, and exciting.
You social media Avatar is just as important as your personal image. You must remember to always apply the same behavior when you are interacting online as you use when you are having face-to-face conversations. Your Avatar shouldn’t be completely different than who you really are. It can, however, be a slightly better version of yourself.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).