I’m Not Going to Tell You What My Bra Color Is

How do you decide which groups, pages, and activities to participate in on social networking sites?  It seems like every day there’s another group or cause to join, or something everybody’s doing.  But is it right for YOU?

Remember that social networking for personal use and social networking for business are two very different things.  While on the surface it may look similar, the individual that uses social media for business purposes needs to run every single online activity through a filter.  Ask yourself…would my participation reflect well on my business and my company?  If I were to ask my company and my colleagues about how this would reflect on them, how would they feel about it?

Every single thing you do as a direct seller on social networking sites such as Facebook truly does affect every single direct seller in your company.  It’s not just about you, no matter how much you wish it might be so.  People are forming opinions about the company you represent every single day.  When you participate in activities that might offend or at least turn off potential customers and recruits, you could be damaging months or even years of work by one of your colleagues.  You wouldn’t want that to happen to you.  Why on earth would you do that to someone else?

This also goes for your profiles online.  Are you members of pages and groups that reflect well on your company and colleagues, or is it time to perhaps go through that list again?  Should you perhaps remove some of those more embarrassing photos?  Have you made comments or written notes that are negative or opinionated, and that might offend?  If you are using your profile for business, and talking about your association with your company as part of it, it is essential that you realize that you must use an internal censor with everything you do.  Your social networking is no longer a place you can just put whatever you want.

This goes for politics and religion as well.  People may think that your opinions represent the entire organization’s views.  Politics and religion can be SO polarizing, that it’s best to steer clear of these issues in order to not interfere with the business of others.  And if you feel you MUST mention these, do so in as neutral a way as possible.  Do not intentionally post things that may upset others.  While it may be OK if your profile is strictly personal, and you know the opinions of the people you’re connected with, business is another thing entirely, and you are no longer representing just yourself.

So the next time you’re tempted to participate in the next Facebook game, asked to join a group, etc, take just a minute and ask yourself if your customers and your company really want to know your bra color.  If you sell bras, then perhaps they do.  But maybe you’ll be stirring up a mental image that people really would prefer not to have. Think it though first.  Your company and your colleagues will thank you.

What do you think?

Photo Credit: anniemullinsuk

15 Responses to I’m Not Going to Tell You What My Bra Color Is
  1. Cindy Taylor
    January 11, 2010 | 7:11 pm

    hmmm…I have been pondering this since the status posts began…and I weighed it all out and considered the fact that it was a fun, simple social game, that would be out of my status pretty quickly, so why not?! I know that there are a LOT of things I would NOT do (for example, I would not post a picture of my bra!!) but this one just seemed kinda fun to join in…maybe it was the mystery of it all!

    I may very well be wrong and I will certainly continue to filter what I do in the future…thanks for reminding us of how important it is when we use fb for business!

    Cindy

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 7:16 pm

      Cindy,
      It certainly is a personal decision. I simply meant to call out that we must think things through, and their impact, before we decide whether or not to participate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Jennifer

      • Cindy Taylor
        January 11, 2010 | 9:22 pm

        I am GLAD you called it out…you are good at keeping us on our toes !!! Keep it up!!

        Cindy

  2. Margaret
    January 11, 2010 | 6:37 pm

    Hi,

    I find this post interesting. Facebook is a social network. I have friends and family as my personal contacts. My business page is for conducting business. They are two different entities so I guess I’m a little confused as to how posting my bra color on a personal page would have a negative impact on my business page? Could you clarify your thinking on this?

    For example, my business blog is linked to both my personal page and my business page. However my game links only show up on my personal page. Many of my contacts I met through the games so they know I play. Does that make me less of a businessperson because I play games? Do you feel it’s less likely that they will look at my business page because they know I play games?

    I’m not being facetious, these are serious questions. Facebook is relaxation for me (and many others) so I’m questioning if the impact is as large as thought?

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 7:10 pm

      Margaret,
      All good questions. If you are not gathering business prospects on your personal profile, and are keeping them strictly on your business page, then this is less of an issue for you. I will tell you though that MANY people are annoyed by a steady stream of games in the news feed, particularly those who don’t know how to hide them. If your business strategy involves reaching people through your profile, I would seriously consider what shows up.

      One reason many direct sellers use their personal profile as a networking tool for their businesses is because we often do business in our warm market. Facebook even helps us extend that market. But if we want the advantage of working within that market, we need to be aware that we can’t just do anything we want.

      At the end of the day it’s a personal decision. But understand that there IS an impact, especially if your profile is the main tool you’re using for business.

      Hope that helps clarify!
      Jennifer

  3. Erin
    January 11, 2010 | 12:46 pm

    I am definitely not one to just jump into a game on Facebook until I consider what it will do for me. If it fits my personality, great, but I also have two facebook profiles–business and personal–and so the “game” must fit the proper personality so I don’t harm my personal brand. 🙂

    In my opinion, the problem with the bra posting is that crosses a personal line. Some people don’t care if everyone knows what color their bra is, but I am not one of those people. Participating in this type of event doesn’t do anything for me.

    Meanwhile, every company/organization/brand is trying to figure out how they can be the next big craze on Facebook that everyone joins without thinking about…

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 1:33 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Erin!

      I assume this is what you meant, but Facebook only allows one profile per user. If they discover you have two, they will shut you down. It’s in the terms of service. Of course, if you feel the need to completely separate your personal and professional personas, you can do so through the use of a Profile for personal, and a Page for business. However in my opinion, that’s a lot to keep up with. Some people have success with it, but it’s just not my favorite way to spend my time.

      I agree with you on the crossing of the line. I got some mental images that I just didn’t need, and I KNOW some people were uncomfortable, even if they didn’t say anything.

      Food for thought!
      Jennifer

  4. Linda Stacy
    January 11, 2010 | 12:46 pm

    I must have been under my rock that day.. I totally missed this one. It reminds me of all those email chain letters… “forward this to all of your friends.” People often participate “just in case;” not wanting to be the person that breaks the chain, just in case it really is true. Applying a little common sense often results in the realization that whatever is being asked doesn’t really help anything.

    I think many of us are still trying to find the balance between building personal relationship to further business and being too personal. It’s new territory for many of us.

    Barb, the good news is that I don’t think one or two mistakes will cause much harm. Most people can overlook a couple (and we’ve all made them!). It’s a longer term pattern that leaves a lasting impression.

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 1:31 pm

      Very good point, and advice! Thanks for chiming in Linda. Your good ideas are always appreciated.

      Cheers!
      Jennifer

  5. Pascale
    January 11, 2010 | 12:20 pm

    I announced my bra color the other day. At least to those who knew what the color really meant. Others, including prospects on my list, responded on the post asked me what all these colors meant. So, I actually reached out in way and made a connection. The bra color postings were also (if you got the correct message) were in awareness of breast cancer, so that’s a plus too. The bra color messages went further the days after when I received private messages to post my hair style and whether my phone was on vibrate/soft/loud/etc. Now, that’s overkill. I didn’t indulge in that.

    So, in posting my bra color, I played along with all my FB friends, made some connections and supported breast cancer awareness. A great thing in my book! I don’t see how it can offend someone. It’s when you are playing games and doing meaningless quizzes, sending out requests and wall posts in association with these games and quizzes that I find to be very unprofessional for business and will cause you to lose contacts.

    If businesspeople are going to use facebook for business, they really should take responsibility and learn how facebook works as well. Don’t they know there are privacy settings for applications? I agree with your post here, Jennifer, except that I think it’s okay for us to post our bra color to join in on the fun for a good cause and leave it at that. 🙂

    Thanks for your awesome social media resources!

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 12:31 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to respond. I was actually waiting for someone to disagree with me. 🙂

      As I said, it’s less about this one specific activity, and more about thinking through each action you take, and how it will affect your business (along with the business of your colleagues.) There were plenty of people who found this activity to be fun. It remains to see if there is any long term value from it.

      Happy to have your opinion! Thanks for participating.

      Cheers!
      Jennifer

  6. Linda
    January 11, 2010 | 12:08 pm

    I definitely believe in separating business and personal life. My 15 year old son follows me on Twitter (my business account) and he says that my tweets are boring and that is fine by me. As I have over 3,000 followers, my tweets must be interesting to the more mature crowd.

    I see too many people on Twitter and Facebook arguing with other people, talking about politics and religion, and just generally acting like they are “anonymous” because they are hiding behind a screen. I have many people in my local community who follow my postings, as well as family members. I can’t afford to trash my reputation and let other people know more about me than I care to let on.

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 12:32 pm

      Thanks for chiming in Linda! I agree with you, that we really need to be mindful when participating in social media. What we post can last a long, long time, and go way beyond social networking sites. It’s good to think before we post.

      Cheers!
      Jennifer

  7. Barb Orozco
    January 11, 2010 | 9:53 am

    Ouch! You are so right, Jennifer! And, I knew this BEFORE I hit the “post” button. Momentarily lost my mind and came back to my senses when the embarassment set in. Hope and pray I haven’t caused too much damage. Thanks for being the “voice of reason”.
    Barb
    PS: And, I’m the parent (and former elementary teacher) who has always complained about pajama day at elementary school as desensitizing kids for something which is to be kept at home among family members! Sheesh… I need to “walk my talk”!

    • Jennifer
      January 11, 2010 | 10:01 am

      Thanks for the honest comment Barb! Everyone needs to decide for themselves what is and is not appropriate, based on the culture of their company and customers, but I don’t think everyone thought about this one. Just because someone said it was for breast cancer (although no one even knows for sure how it started…it could have been some creepy guy in his basement for all we know), everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

      If you’re with a bra company, this could be fabulous marketing. But the point is to really think it through first, before you participate. That’s all I’m saying.

      Jennifer

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