If you have an active social life, it can be tempting to post about the night you spent clubbing on your social media accounts, followed by photos of your boozy brunch the morning after, and then a long rant about how you don’t want to go to work on Monday. Sound familiar? If even part of the above rings true, it’s time for a professional social media overhaul. Yes, social media is a great way to express yourself, but your co-workers and potential employers are just as likely to look at your profile as your college BFFs are. Here are some ways to keep your social media professional while still staying true to you.
Do: Know your privacy settings
First things first, know your privacy settings. If you don’t want prying eyes looking at your profile, make sure you know the exact kind of privacy settings your social platform of choice allows for. (You don’t want to think you’re sending your squad a DM on Twitter when you’re actually posting a public tweet!) Take an hour or two and delve into the “About” and “Security” sections of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever else you’re using. Become an expert so you know what you can feel comfortable posting. Either make your profiles private or create privacy lists to keep certain posts from co-workers and business associates.
Don’t: Friend everyone
Gone are the days when your popularity is defined by how many Facebook friends you have! It’s okay to be selective with the people you include in your social media circle. There’s no need to friend all of your brand new co-workers on Facebook if you don’t want to, so don’t feel pressured to share that part of your life until you’re ready.
Do: Stay positive
It can be easy to post a long-winded rant, but aim to keep the tone of your posts positive. You never know exactly who is going to be reading your profile (even if your settings are private, things can be screen-captured and shared). Nobody wants to work with somebody that has a negative perspective, so instead of sharing your negativity on social media – keep it positive or, if not that, neutral.
Keep your language clean to present your best digital self. That goes for photos, too. If you wouldn’t show it to your parents, don’t show it your friends and followers.
Do: Be okay having more than one profile
If you have a job that requires you to be active on social media, it’s okay to split your social media life into “professional profiles” and “personal profiles.” The professional profile can be used for networking and promoting your business, while the other can be for sharing your vacation photos and celebrating old college memories. Just make sure to post the appropriate content on the right profile!
Don’t: Post confidential information
Hopefully, you know this by now – but never post confidential information on social media. Whether it’s yours, somebody else’s or your company’s, posting private information could have serious repercussions on your professional life. Even if it’s something you really want to share, some things – like news of an impending company layoff, your co-worker’s promotion or your employment offer letter– shouldn’t go up on social media.
Do: Think twice – always!
If you’re not sure whether you should post something or not – think about it, and then think about it again. The rules of social media are always changing, but your social media image is completely up to you. Post only what you’re comfortable with and what you feel is workplace-friendly, and you’ll have a stellar looking profile in no time!