Whether you use social media for personal or professional reasons, it is important to know how to properly use it. If you do not have guidelines on how to communicate using social media, there could be serious consequences. Everything and anything you post on social media is there and will stay there forever. You may not realize it while you’re posting an impulsive rant regarding your boss, or an inappropriate comment towards a friend that may be end up being taken the wrong way. What you say and post on social media can always be used against you- and it will haunt you forever.
It is important to realize that everything you post will be seen by your future boss, your clients, partners, voters and many other important people in your life. Before you post something on social media, think to yourself, “Would I say this in front of my grandparents?” or, “Would I show this photo to my boss?” If the answer to either or both of these questions is a flat out no, then you have your answer. In order to protect yourself from anything embarrassing getting out with your name on it, you must set boundaries (personally and professionally).
So how do I set boundaries for myself when it comes to social media?
First of all, be professional. When you are applying for a job, or even in the processing of heavily networking yourself to professionals, it is important that they recognize you from your online picture. That being said, make sure that all of your social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) all have a professional, nice photo of you featured as your profile picture. A business colleague or potential boss will not respect you or even give you the time of day if they get on to your Facebook page and see an inappropriate and unprofessional photo of you. Make a good first impression on all social media accounts.
Next, it is vital that you introduce yourself in a positive way. All of the content that you post on your social media accounts heavily represents who you are as a person. Post interesting and value-added content to showcase your expertise and interests. Every social media page is an opportunity to network yourself- use it wisely!
If you are within the business world, you must have a Linkedin page. Potential clients, bosses and colleagues will head straight to your Linkedin page to check out who you are and what you have done. If you are connecting with someone via Linkedin, it is a smart idea to always personalize the message when you are connecting. If you do not personalize your messages, you will most likely not be viewed as authentic. Being authentic is extremely important when it comes to landing that dream job. Personalizing the message to connect will allow for the person you are connecting to to realize that you truly are interested in what they do and want to learn more about it.
Lastly, always be sure to add your two cents in to professional conversations going on with people you are connected to. If you are interested in a certain business, company or even a professional person, listen to what they are saying on their social media accounts, and add to it! By adding your value to the post, you are showing that you want to build a business relationship with them.
All in all, you would never show up to a professional business dinner in sweatpants, because you want to be sure to put your best foot forward. Think of social media as the same idea- always putting your best foot forward to be looked at in a positive light!
To learn more about social media etiquette, visit Quirk’s blog writer, Margaret Page’s blogs!