Social Media Do's and Don'ts for Professionals
According to techcrunch.com, 73% of U.S. adults use social media sites. This is a substantial number of people, which is sure to include a large network of working professionals. If you are a part of this 73%, then you should consider some important things with regard to your social media and your professional reputation. Social networking provides an excellent medium for connecting people around the world, but this means that any information you put out there can be accessed by other people using these sites, which includes coworkers and employers. If you are applying for a job, or working for someone new, they are probably going to research you, and you’d be surprised what might pop up on Google under your name. It is important to be judicious about what you share. Here are a few do’s and don’ts about social media that can help you maintain a professional web presence.
- Understand Privacy Settings. You want to make sure that you protect what you put on the Internet. You may have pictures or posts of a more personal nature, and it is important to know who can see these things. For example, Facebook has privacy settings, which can be set so that your pictures can be accessed only by those you allow to see them. It is wise to make sure that things of a more personal nature stay that way.
- Update Your Information. If you have social media accounts, they represent you, and establish your presence on the web. If you don’t update your information and make sure to keep it consistent across all of your sites, it can look sketchy or unprofessional to employers. Especially if your sites are linked together, it is important that they all portray the same image.
- Self-Promotion. Social media is a great opportunity to share your accomplishments with the world at large. This can be a great way to share significant achievements with your family and friends, and form an impressive portrayal of yourself to prospective employers as well. It is also important to remember moderation. It is great to share your accomplishments, but you don’t want to come off as boastful.
- Overshare. While social media is often a popular method of sharing information of a personal nature with family and friends, it is important to remember that they aren’t always the only ones who see what you post. If you put it on the Internet, then it is accessible, so try to avoid posting anything that could be considered too much information, or unflattering. It can really be harmful to a professional image.
- Neglect Accuracy. Even if you don’t think anyone will be judging your social media posts from a professional point of view, it is important to make sure you are posting intelligently. This means you should always proofread. Misspellings or inaccurate information reflects negatively on you. It could indicate sloppiness, negligence, or even illiteracy. That is probably not the way you want your boss to think of you.
- Jeopardize Your Job. Posting on social media sites is fun, and can be a great outlet, but if you aren’t careful, it could cost you a job. If you had a bad day at work, you might want to vent by posting about it on a social media site. This is probably unwise, especially if you are connected with fellow employees or your boss. Even posting positive things can get you in trouble, if you are not authorized by your employer to represent the company in a public sphere. The best method to avoid this sort of problem is to avoid posting company business or information altogether.
There are many things to consider about your professional image and social media, but these basic tips are a great starting point. The most important thing is to be aware that other people will be reading what you post, and viewing your pictures. You may not always be able to control who is checking out this information, so use social media intelligently and you can turn it into a positive professional resource.
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