How Social Media May Affect Your Future
Posted on June 30 2016
Participating in social media is no longer optional but rather an intricate part of our everyday lives.
From using Facebook to update our friends and family to creating a collage of pictures on Instagram - social media is a big deal and keeps getting bigger. It gives us a voice to share our world views, opinions, and beliefs. It connects us, strengthens us, and is a powerful source of information. Social media puts the world at our fingertips - literally.
Through social media we have conversations with complete strangers, discover Kim Kardashian’s latest bandage dress style, find lovers, and unite with other fans of our favorite teams.
As social media continues to evolve it becomes a go to source for many professional organizations. College administrators and human resource departments have begun to
scan social media profiles of applicants prior to onboarding and the precedent continues to make huge impacts. Studies show that 31 percent of employers screen applicants using social media and 21 percent are looking for reasons not to hire you.
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled on various cases involving employee conduct on social media. Employees have been fired, demoted, or removed from departments as result of their social media presence, shares, and posts. So we all must ask the question what is appropriate to post, share, and follow on your social media profiles.
To help you navigate the evolving world of social media we hosted a round up and reached out to social media influencers around the world for insights into this tough question:
How do you balance your social media presence with your personal and professional life?
As we compiled the list of insights and tips from social media influencers we discovered that there are actually two social media management approaches. For simplicity we’ve segmented the list into the Be Yourself Believers and the Use Caution Camp.
The Be Yourself Believers recommend that you use social media strategically such as embracing privacy settings and groups. The Use Caution Camp encourage you to keep things personally neutral and purposefully professional.
How you approach your social media profiles is in your hands, but we strongly encourage you to check out both points of view.
Use Caution Camp - Keep your social media professional.
These influencers touch on the power of social media and warn against outlandish behaviors and posts.
Many studies have shown that the best way to embrace the philosophy of using caution is to diversify your friends and followers. If your parents, boss, or college professors are your friends on Facebook you are much less likely to post all the details of your Saturday night out on the town or the crazy stuff that happened at that house party last week.
From branding consultants to former Apple geniuses these influencers encourage you to be very mindful of your social media presences.
“Assuming that people will understand that, for example, Facebook is for friends and family, and LinkedIn is for career is stupid. Every profile and presence is professional. Yes, I am saying that you should take the social out of social media for your career."
“The stories of marriages, careers, and reputations wrecked by thoughtless or drunken social media updates haven't been lost on today's teens and young adults. Neither has the reality of the worst job market in decades for those just coming out of school.
When I talk to my millennial kids and their friends, I'm struck by their maturity on these subjects and their impressive level of sophistication about online privacy and security. That's a big part of what's driving the growth of sites like Snapchat, which now has more daily users than Twitter. And there is zero trust in Facebook.
The best advice remains to never post anything on social media that you wouldn't if "your spouse/parents/kids/boss/pastor" were looking over your shoulder. Never tweet/post/comment/update in anger. Never use social media when drunk or under the influence--ever.
We've not quite reached the world described in Damon Knight's 1976 short story "I See You," in which a device is invented that lets anyone see anything anyone else is doing at any time, eliminating all personal privacy and government secrets. But we're on that path.
So "tips and tricks"? Keep current on technology. But understand that in most cases, social means public. Don't be dishonest, but share the best of your life; the image you'd like the world to have of you. None of us are perfect. But our imperfections don't need to broadcast.”
Tom Pick, Digital Marketing Consultant, Webbiquity
“Social media has made privacy an antiquated notion. To be sure, each channel offers various privacy settings, which it behooves you to use. But these settings can be bewildering, and mistakes happen. I promise you: you won’t be the first person in history to accidentally publicize what you meant to be private. Just as you won’t be the first person to get hacked. The bottom line: exercise common sense as to what you put out there. You don’t want to self-censor yourself into a straightjacket, but you don’t have to publish every thought that comes into your head.
Consider the top 10 results that appear when your name is Googled. What if one of those links is your Facebook page, which, when clicked, reveals a pic of you doing a keg stand in college? As soon as a potential employer sees this, you’ll be out of the running. And not because keg stands are bad, but because if you treat your own life with such casual disregard, how will your treat the information with which your clients and sources entrust you? What’s worse, your rejection letter won’t say any of this. In fact, you could be the best candidate, and you’ll never know the real reason you weren’t hired.
So how do you decide what to share? There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy here. You don’t have to share every thought that pops into your mind; they’re not all winners. Resist the temptation to publish every pic you snap. For example, be careful who you friend. That guy you met at a happy hour years ago, who later friended you but with whom you haven’t spoken since? Remember: not only can he download or screenshot that embarrassing pic, he also can then self-publish it or feed it to a reporter. Also remember: if a friend of yours is hacked, the hacker thereby has access to your theretofore private content.
Some may think these are overly restrictive. And they are. But remember: stories abound of people losing their job, of social media posts used as evidence in court, of people being denied a security clearance because of a bong-hit photo.”
Jonathan Rick, President, The Jonathan Rick Group
“The balance shifts with age/accomplishments. Early on it’s important to be professional and strong, being careful to make sure that your social media presence matches your end goal. Is the end goal a specific job or client? Make sure to be diplomatic, well spoken, and creative. As one gets older or becomes more accomplished I feel it is ok to drop some diplomacy and trade it for a bit of provocativeness, while remaining well spoken. At any step, you need to allow people to see a bit into your world. People want to feel like that know you. It’s not meant to be disingenuous but rather the opposite. People yearn for connection, if you can allow them to feel the slightest bit of that connection you’ve earned a fan for life. Whether that is a potential job, client, or consumer.”
Michelle D'Attilio, CEO, SOSH
"As a social media manager and trainer, it is hard to keep your professional and your personal online media outputs separate and the lines do blur, however, it isn't impossible. Personally, I keep my facebook page for my personality and everything else is business. However, in an overt world where your customers, audiences, and clients want to know more than just your expertise and services, then being mindful of what you post on all your platforms is the way forward because you don't know who could be following you.
If you are someone who needs to express controversial opinions that may affect your business, then I would recommend finding a friend and tell them in person. That way, you know you're not putting your job on the line."
Charleh Dickinson, Social Media Manager & Trainer, KUB Business Growth
“This is a real challenge across all platforms for employees or business owners who are building a personal brand.This is what we do with our clients, we create a brand new personal profile using a nickname or pseudonym only shared with close friends and family.
But the real art is in keeping that ‘secret’ personal profile from linking back to your professional accounts, so DO NOT add information about your employer or business, your hometown, your contact details, cancel the geotagging on your photos and the hardest one: do not accept comments from colleagues.
Now you are free to enjoy your double life!”
Pascal Fintoni, Online Reputation Expert, Pascal Fintoni
Be Yourself Believers - Let loose and share your life freely.
Freedom is your right! These social media influencers believe that sharing your personal and professional life is acceptable and encouraged.
Their position is that by sharing what you do in your free time outside of work allows your coworkers and network to see the real you without a professional filter always intact.
From marketing strategist to company founders letting loose gives you personality and style.
“You must be yourself and show your personality. It's just fine to mix your personal life and your professional life on social media because your business contacts love to know what you do on your own time.”
David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist and Bestselling Author of 10 books including The New Rules of Marketing and PR
“I believe there is no longer a wall separating personal and business. People in business want to know more about who everyone really is, not just their business persona. Here are three things that are important for anyone who wants to be successful balancing one's social media presence with personal and professional style…
- Being available as much as possible. It's certainly ok to set limit, and guardrails, but the borders have shifted and blurred.
- Constantly producing and curating content to attract those who don’t know you or may feel reluctant to reach out. Let them know who you are as a person, what's important to you, and what you believe personally, along with your business views and expertise.
- Being genuine, authentic and open to conversation.
Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist, Acting CMO Brand Innovators, Ted Rubin
“I don't make a distinction. I think my business relationships are richer if people know something about me as a person. I attempt to be measured and mature in all my social media activity, because once you put something on the Internet anybody is likely to see it. I also avoid highly charged issues like politics or religion because you can only make enemies by taking a public position. if you're positive, constructive and helpful, I don't see how you can get in any trouble blending your public and private personas.”
Paul Gillin, B2B Social Media Strategist, Paul Gillin Communications
“Two words: Privacy Settings. That's all you need to know when it comes to balancing a social media presence with personal and professional style. There are certain social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) where the majority of people would prefer to keep their information private from employers. There are other platforms (LinkedIn and Twitter) where it's beneficial to share public information with employers to showcase your knowledge and experience.
Learn the privacy settings for each platform. Be conscious of the types of content you share on all platforms. Enjoy the balance of your personal and professional style on social media.”
Brett Farmiloe, Founder, Markitors
“Social media is and will forever be a platform to be social with others and allow your personality to shine. Your social media posts should represent your personality, thoughts and beliefs while also keeping in mind that what you post on the internet is permanent (thanks to screenshots!) and can easily be spread to other users besides your followers. Also, search engines like Google favor social media profiles in search engine results, so recruiters looking you up on the internet have a high likelihood of easily locating your social media profiles and recent posts.
The best thing to do is keep being you online, but do a quick double-check before you hit the 'post' button on anything you're going to publish. When in doubt about what you are about to post, ask yourself this question: Would I be OK with my grandma reading this? If the answer is No, then don't post it. It's simply not worth it.”
Liz Jostes, Co-Owner, Eli Rose Social Media, LLC
“I recommend people stick to a social media ratio. Mine is 60/40. 60 percent of what I talk about on social media will be professional (news, industry thoughts, etc.) and 40 percent will be personal (family, fun, food, etc.) The lines between professional and free time are being blurred by technology and the gig economy, so my recommendation to my personal branding clients is to really think before posting anything – what is your goal by sharing or commenting on an article or image? – and remember it will be public, so try and make the very best impression. Many people think they have to put on a “front” to be successful across social media and that’s simply not true. We encourage clients to think about their AURA. The content they create and share should be Authentic, Useful, Relevant and Actionable. Always.”
“While it’s always a good idea to work on developing your personal brand, an effective way to start is to figure out what makes you uniquely you. You can then blend your own special quirkiness into your professional persona. By using your own insights and feedback from others, you can determine key themes that not only convey your best self, but also connect emotionally with your colleagues, friends and followers. Also make sure to respect the native attributes of the social platform; for example selfie lenses work well on Snapchat but could be off putting on Facebook. Also for example, Instagram is for interesting photos that are brand relevant; it's not for pictures of quotes or text. You don't need a gazillion hashtags; rather find the handful that work for you and your style. Finally, pay attention to the likes and comments you’re getting and make adjustments to your approach.”
Walter Akana, Personal Brand and Online Identity Strategist, Success Reimagined
“The online world is a very crowded and noisy place now. In order for your message to be noticed you need to stand out from the crowd so being you, with an individual voice is no longer quirky, but essential. Your social media presence will appeal most if you can be authentic, vulnerable and a great storyteller. Don’t be afraid to say what you stand for and aim to connect emotionally with people online.
Keep sensible boundaries, but be real.”
Julia Bramble, Social Media Strategist and Business Growth Advisor, Bramble Buzz
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