Social media is a powerful tool for business professionals. It enables you to reach wider audiences and build your influence. However, it can also be a huge liability. Unfortunately, the same things that make social media so powerful also make it potentially dangerous. Social media has the ability to strengthen or ruin your reputation. When used appropriately, social media is a great way to connect with audiences, promote brand awareness, and enhance relationships. That said, a few bad moves can also damage your work reputation. Not sure if your reputation is at risk? Here are some of the most common pitfalls from personal social media profiles.
Getting Too Personal
It is certainly acceptable to have a personal life outside of work. That said, everything you do in your personal life does not need to be documented on your social media profiles. You should refrain from posting political comments and personal opinions, as these could offend someone and cause you to lose credibility. In addition, refrain from posting photos that might be considered too personal. For example, think twice before posting a picture in your bathing suit or dancing the night away at the club. These kinds of photos make you look unprofessional and can seriously damage your professional reputation.
Engaging in Inappropriate Behavior
While that crazy weekend at the lake may have left you and your friends laughing, your boss might not find it so amusing. Avoid posting photos involving alcohol, drugs, weapons, and any other items that might display a bad image. Think twice before posting personal photographs of you partying or acting inappropriately, as these images will remain on the internet and could come back to haunt you at any time.
Social media is not the place to be attacking your competitors (or anyone for that matter). Furthermore, it is never the place to comment about coworkers, customers, or managers. Remember that you are a professional, and polluting your brand with negativity is a definite no-no. Rather than spreading gossip and slander, be honest, positive, and kind in everything you post.
Remember You Represent Your Brand
While most people make it a point to keep their professional and personal profiles separate, sometimes it’s not so easy. Employers, recruiters, customers, and colleagues will be looking at your profiles. Therefore, what you say and post is subject to consequences. Although you have the right to post as you please, you aren’t exempt from the consequences of these actions. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words and all it takes is one photo or comment to compromise your reputation. You are an ambassador for your brand, so represent them well in everything you post on your social media accounts.