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Professional Dos and Don’ts of Social Media


Felicia

Nowadays, everyone has a social media profile – multiple profiles even! Given the number of new social networks popping up, there’s no signs of social media “dying” anytime soon, so it should always be top-of-mind in your professional career.

Unless you’re completely absent from social networks (or you happen to obsessively manage your profile’s privacy settings), people can and will generally find you via a simple Google search. Whether you’re already employed or looking for a job, managers, human resources generalists, and co-workers are going to look for you… and they are looking for you.

People are Searching for You
© Flickr User Jeffrey Beall

Okay, so that last statement was a little creepy… but it’s true! People are naturally curious; so if they think there’s a possibility of finding some information on you, they’re gonna try to find it.

The thought of someone being able to find you may seem scary, but why? I mean, you have full control over what you decide and don’t decide to share, right? Technically yes… but I get why it can be scary.

Social media is often a means for self-expression and entertainment. As a marketing professional with tons of professional contacts, I’ll admit that I wrestle with these issues often. I like to swear; I’ve got strong opinions on current events and I like sharing weird (non-obscene) animated gifs. Some people like it and some people don’t.

Case-in-point, employers want to gauge your personality, but they have personal preferences. That’s something you don’t really have control over. Regardless, there are general DOs and DON’Ts that all working professionals should follow:

DON’T

Publicly Make Fun of or Criticize a Person in Your Network

I’ve seen it happen and it’s not cool. Everyone knows everyone — especially if you work in a niche industry like marketing. Word may not get back to said criticized person, and their friends & colleagues may feel equally offended.

Criticize a Group of People

I don’t necessarily condone being political on social media, but it happens to the best of us. People become very passionate about current events and they like to air their grievances. That’s fine. What isn’t fine is saying “All Republicans are this” or “All Democrats are that.” When you make gross generalizations, you’re indirectly attacking someone you know who fits that category. The same can be said for religion. Don’t do it!

OVERSHARE

Oversharing isn’t the most horrible thing you can do, but it sure can be annoying. We’re all guilty of it… but if you could keep extremely personal issues mum, it would be ideal. We all get upset, and again, we like to air our grievances. However, if someone follows you on Twitter and you start talking about your evil mother-in-law, they’re probably gonna think you’re nuts.

Recommended Social Media
© Flickr User jm3 on Flickr

DO:

Compliment people (but don’t force it though)

C’mon? Who doesn’t like to be buttered up? No one! If you want to make nice (or on Twitter, introduce yourself), pay them a compliment. It could be as simple as a comment on their cool avatar or as complex as referencing a blog post they wrote. It starts up an effortless conversation and, ultimately, a new relationship.

Inquire about Professional Opportunities

Whether it’s inquiring about job opportunities or garnering sales leads, there’s nothing wrong with making initial connections. Obviously, you don’t want to close a sale or hand over your resume to someone over Facebook or Twitter, but showing interest over that type of platform shows you’re digitally savvy; and frankly, shows that you’re a real person…. which leads us to our last point…

Share stuff you enjoy… Even if it is weird!

My motto has always been “You ain’t gonna please everybody, so just be yourself!” So long as you aren’t (extremely) vulgar and you aren’t hateful, you’re as good as gold. People can’t fault you for loving what you do. If they don’t like breaded cats, that’s their problem. You don’t want a social media profile that consists of just posts associated with your field. That’s boring. You’re only human.. and humans aren’t boring. For every one person that doesn’t like your personality, there are plenty of people who will dig what you do!

Cat HandsOne of the many strange images I share on the internet.

When it comes to using social media, we’ve all made dumb mistakes. I make mistakes all the time (again, I really like swearing) — but being aware of these general rules can help you in the future. As far as cleaning up your profile goes, try to share more positive content and engage with more positive people. Kindness goes a long way and it’ll (almost) make up for anything wrong you do.

Just use your head…and maybe buy a swear jar.

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About the Blogger: Felicia Savage is a Digital Media Marketing Associate at PERQ, a marketing technology and promotions company based in Indianapolis. When she blogging and researching content, Felicia enjoys drawing, watching cartoons and looking up stupid cat videos, Check out KittyHasFleaz.com or follow her on Twitter (@KittyHasFleaz.) to learn more about her!

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Tue, July 1 2014 » Technology Tips

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