Why You Should be "Professionally Social" on All Social Media
In the 10+ years I've been active on social media, I've learned and shared many tips with businesses, my friends, and my network. I've also learned a lot from my friends and network along the way.
One thing I learned early on with social media is that you need to be "professionally social" regardless of the site. Yes, you can have fun while you're participating in conversations, commenting on posts, posting content, re-tweeting conversations, etc.
But, it's really important to keep in mind that to the outside world, you are you.
It's virtually (no pun intended) impossible to separate your "personal" life from your "professional" life when you're active on social media.
I remember when I was in college, the president of a sorority was reprimanded because of her weekend partying. She wanted to party with the frat guys on the weekends and take off her president's hat and title. But unfortunately, the president is the president. Regardless if she's slamming a beer at a party or overseeing a club meeting, she's representing the organization. That responsibility comes with the territory.
When you're on Facebook, for example, you can't ever let your guard completely down, in my opinion. I know there are people out there who disagree with me. Heck, there are even people who are my "friends" on facebook who disagree with me. Well, that's their policy.
If you're on Facebook, you know what I mean. You see the inappropriate posts from your friends - perhaps they are bashing their job, commenting on their spouse, or commenting on a politically-charged issue.
Their posts are meant for their network in their so-called "private" Facebook bubble. And if you don't have your privacy settings adjusted, these "private" messages are viewable to the world. Just search for "I hate my job" on Facebook in "everyone" posts and you'll see what I mean.
But guess what? I'm forming impressions on these people and so are others. And if these folks were to ask me for something on a professional level - a reference, a recommendation, a referral - I would think twice before helping them out. I don't agree that Facebook is a protected bubble with different social rules.
Yes, you can set your own policy on Facebook and only connect with very close family and friends. But how many people do you know are on Facebook with only 30 friends? I think the average in my network is well over 100 "friends."
My policy is to typically only accept friend requests from people I know very well, those who I feel comfortable sharing photos of my family. And I have my privacy settings set up so that "only friends" can see my posts, my pictures, and my conversations.
As I continue to grow my social media business, I've evolved my posts and sometimes share a Facebook post as "public" if it's something I want everyone to see.
Over the years, I have presented this topic for discussion to groups of college students. There are always a few in the room who disagree with my concept of being "professionally social" at all times on all networks.
I explained to them that it's my opinion and it's up to you to decide, but at some point in your life, you have to decide what it is that you want and make a conscious decision to grow up. I'm not saying you can't have fun. You can have fun. You just need to be careful about what you post on the web.
My policy is to be "professionally social" at all times. I can have fun. I have conversations. I'm being me.
But I'm not going to be inappropriate or unprofessional.
An easy test for what's appropriate -- if you have any doubt in your mind: would you be comfortable if a potential employer, a client, or your grandma read your post? Would you be OK with losing a job or a client over a point of view you share on social media?
If the answer is no, you probably shouldn't post it. Better to be safe than sorry.
Let's connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/brendameller
Need help with social media? Contact me. I've worked with individuals, side-hustlers turned entrepreneurs, and business owners to help provide them marketing and social media guidance. My services range from hourly coaching / consulting up to complete social media management and team social media training. All in a "judgement free" zone. And as a marketer, I'll be honest and tell it like it is!