Secret’s out: we are not all celebrities and big shots that have a Samantha Jones-esque worldly wise publicist looking out for the messages we are sending out into the universe. Today your social media personality contributes heavily to client and colleague and even potential employer perceptions of you. Here are seven best practices for keeping a positive image online.
1. Vent somewhere else. Feeling the need to let off a little steam? Text a friend, write in your journal, or share it with your spouse. Don’t type a status update. Venting via social media may have more negative repercussions than positive ones. You may come across as someone who has poor judgment or looks as if they have no one to talk to in the real world. It’s bad press all the way around. Don’t do it.
2. Keep away from unpleasantries. Whether it’s photos of dead animals, oversharing about your morning hygiene routine or the details of your illness–think about your queasiest friend. Would she want to hear about it? If not, then just don’t mention it.
3. Don’t treat social media like a megaphone. Engage with others! Respond, comment, like. Don’t waste hours of your day, of course, but the truly adept social networker finds that happy balance between sharing with his or her tribe and engaging with them. It’s just rude to constantly post messages online and not respond to anyone else. Online manners FTW.
4. Avoid potentially offensive or polarizing statements. You probably know someone who is relatively meek in person and then seems to be an angry confrontational jerk on Facebook, amiright? Chances are, your perception of him has been affected by what he posts. There’s nothing like logging on and realizing that former quiet, coworker is a little bit racist. Avoid off color jokes, criticizing others, and making sweeping statements regarding current events. Whatever you post can and could be used against you. So, just keep it classy.
5. Balance out that self-promotion. Social media provides an incredible venue to promote work that excites you. There’s no reason not to let the world know when your album drops, you have a big art show, or are speaking at a conference. Just make sure you don’t only turn to the interwebs when you have something to promote. Experts say self-promotion should be 10% or less of what you post. Adhering to that rule is a good idea.
6. Observe the Grandma Rule. Great question to ask yourself before posting anything: would I want Grandma to see this post? If yes, then go ahead and post it. If no, just skip it.
7. When in doubt, less is more. People can’t twist the words you never say (or, type). Don’t feel the need to post something every day. Click “send” when you have something to contribute. Our words are our legacy.
What do you think? Do you have any rules to live by as you use social media? Do you have any tips for what to avoid? Post em in the comments!
Hilary is Principal at HSL Creative. To learn more about how she can help you craft your online image visit HilarySutton.com.