Social Media: Not Always a Class Act

Cyndi Crawford

February 21, 2014

Have you ever sent a message to someone it wasn’t intended for and may in fact actually have been about that person? I hate to admit this, but I have done that not once, but twice…to the same person…on multiple occasions. I wished that I had tripled checked, nay, quadrupled checked who I was sending those messages to, but in today’s fast paced, here/now society we are too quick to message, text, or post things that frankly, shouldn’t be posted. It’s these little social media blunders that could ultimately keep us from achieving the things we want in life — from a date to a job.

In a world where everyone is online, it isn’t surprising to find out that more and more employers are viewing job candidates’ social media profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn. After all, isn’t that why we have those profiles — so others can find us, see what we’re doing, and catch up with us?  In the past, all employers had to work with before the in-person interviews were your resume, cover letter, and references. However, now-a-days job candidates are being sought out, examined, and judged through the use of social media well before that initial first interview.

Emily Driscroll says that “your digital footprint says a lot about you — it’s extremely accessible and the majority of employers are checking it and doing their due diligence on you just like you should be doing on them when you’re applying for a job. There’s a lot of stuff out there that can either hurt you or help you depending on how on top of it you are.”

Just as your personal social profiles could affect your chances of getting a job (or ahem… a date) the same is true for your business. Here are some tips on how to create a positive online presence and reputation — personally and professionally.

Tip 1: Google Yourself: Find out the sort of things that are associated with your name or brand. After all, isn’t that one in the same? You’d want to protect yourself against being associated with anything negative, so do the same for your business.

Tip 2: Remove Potentially Inappropriate Posts/Pictures: Seems simple, but often times people may think that their posts are private and that only their “friends” can see them, but this isn’t always the case. Social networks are great at providing a false sense of security, but privacy settings can change frequently – leaving your personal things not so personal. Staying up to date on any changing privacy settings can keep you ahead of the curve.

Tip 3: Triple Check What You Post: In case my little story above didn’t get this message across, you should always triple check what you post, text, or message. If you’re using an alias for your business’ admin, don’t get caught posting under the wrong name. We are all busy and want to get our information out there as quickly as possible, but taking an extra 5 minutes to recheck everything will end up saving you the drama that comes from these social slip-ups.

Tip 4: Don’t Treat Social-Networking Sites the Same: It’s important to be active on a variety of social media sites in order to maintain a strong brand; however, not all of these sites may be good for your brand. Instead, focus on the ones that are most applicable to you and your company and the type of audience you want to reach. Use good judgment when deciding what to post and where is the most appropriate place to post it.

These are four tips that are simple and straightforward, but following them will help ensure that your online presence stays classy — whether it’s used for your personal or professional life.