With the onset of social media mega giants like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s almost impossible to really ‘turn yourself off’. We humans love to connect with others and do so by updating our statuses, profile pictures, photo albums and (obsessively) updating our tweets. There is always something to share with our cyber friends…but are we sharing too much?
With jobs running scarce, the economy shaky and even long standing media closing its doors, we are turning to the internet as our lifeline. With our desire to always stay connected, we post just about anything to our social media profiles – from what we had for breakfast, to whether or not we think it will rain for another 30 days straight. We ask our ‘followers’/’fans’/’voyeurs’ to take polls, quizzes and/or give us advice on what life throws at us. In the world of the internet, we may think it stays on our screens, but it doesn’t. Anything you post online is public and for all to see.
For those who may have just gasped after reading that, rest assured. Each social media networking site has privacy settings that you can alter based upon your preferences. My suggestion? If you don’t want your mom reading about your night out, why would you post it publicly on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? Don’t post pictures or enable the ‘tag’ feature on photos…your employer does not want to see you pie eyed at some random bar on a Friday night.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to Social Media.
Social Media Don’ts:
- Don’t Be Pompous: Just because you are sitting in front of a computer screen doesn’t mean you are invincible. No one likes a ‘know it all’, so don’t act like one. If you are looking for a new job, follow those in your niche. Ask questions. Be available for meet ups. Be Proactive. Get your ego in check and act humble. It’s all about networking and building friendships.
- Don’t Slap it on Heavy: Let’s face it. The job market is tough and the hiring process is not easy. Stay true to yourself and don’t lie about your past work experiences because Google always remembers. Tout your winnings, but not too loudly as this might offend your followers or perhaps turn people away from contacting you. Believe it or not, a self promoting tweet may be the demise of your online persona.
- Don’t Blab About Anything and Everything: No one cares if you are drinking a Coke or “so tired you can’t keep your eyes open”. People care about unique, enticing content. Share your thoughts, your goals or talk about the latest project that you worked on. Update your statuses with ‘sticky’ content and it will drive people to look at your profile and even follow you.
- Don’t Just Set it and Forget it: Social media profiles take time to setup and even more time to maintain. If you setup a Facebook Page for your business, it’s wise to have someone on staff to update it regularly. If you setup a Twitter account for your client, it’s best if you maintain weekly status updates; checking for new friends, direct messages, shout outs or reviews. You never know when that ‘hot lead’ will come in…it’s best to be ready.
Social Media Do’s:
- Do Be Friendly, Cordial and Respective: People love feedback. Comment on statuses of those that you follow and respect. Virtually get to know your friends by checking out their social media profile. Where do they work? What is their passion? Comment, share posts, befriend. Karma, folks. It does come back to you.
- Do Participate: Just like with status updates, you can also post messages on links that people share. Or, take it upon yourself to share the content of your peers via a ‘Share This’ button. Blog about a new product. Make news viral. Share the ‘link love’ by giving others a direct link to your website. Link popularity is a huge component to getting found in the search engines. The more high quality links you have pointing to your website, the more credible and valuable your website appears to the end user and the search engines.
- Be Proactive About Leads: You may have a variety of social media accounts. Synch them up using Hootsuite, TweetLater or Ping.fm and update statuses quickly and efficiently with these tools. Make sure to check regularly for direct messages, shout outs or ‘thumbs up’ and give the love right back. Connect, Engage, Communicate and Befriend.
- Do Set Your Privacy Settings: Like I said, no one really wants to see you carrying on in pictures, especially not your employer. We have become too comfortable online and seem to post everything for all eyes to see. Be aware of what you or your friends are posting about you. Set your privacy settings so that you must approve everything first.
Online social networks, whether for personal or business use, are a wonderful thing. Just make sure you know how to use them appropriately to make them work for you!