If you think you can keep your professional and private lives separate online, think again. We’ve all heard stories of people suffering the consequences of a tweet, Facebook update or blog post that shows an employer, client or colleague in a negative light. But what exactly is off-limits, and how do you know what is appropriate?
Those working in Public Relations should be particularly careful because for many of us, social media is part of our job. It’s not unlikely that your personal social media accounts will become fused with your professional life. In this situation you must engage in social media in a professional manner.
It’s not just your current employer that you must consider. Even the unemployed should be careful, because future employers can very easily view content on Twitter and blogs, which are visible to the public, and sometimes even LinkedIn and Facebook. Think of all the people who could potentially see it, such as clients, work colleagues or people in your industry circle.
Privacy settings might make you think your comments won’t be seen by the wrong people. But depending on your settings, your comments could be visible in search engine results. There are also other factors – you might have a friend in common that makes your profile visible to them, or your Twitter might feed into your LinkedIn profile.
Before you post comments, take these points into account:
- If the comment is negative, does it serve any purpose?
- Who is it about, and is there any way that person could see it?
- Does this portray me and the company I work for in a positive/professional way?
If you aren’t sure, a good idea is to wait an hour and then decide. Usually your anger or frustration will subside and you’ll realise that social networking is not the best place to vent. If you are caught saying the wrong thing, you can be held accountable for promoting a negative image of the person or organisation.
The best approach to posting comments on social media is to assume that whoever you are talking about will see it. Don’t be afraid to express opinions and let your personality shine, but if you are speaking about people in your professional life, keep it that way – professional. Be pleasant and if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.