Thursday, 18 April 2013

Social Media Tips for the Workplace

Hi Everyone!

Now I'm by no means an expert in social media, but there have been a few incidents at work lately that prompted me to think about how the world of social media can affect your job and career so I've done some tips to help you not make the same mistakes as my colleagues.

The first thing and arguably the most important thing you have to understand is that anything that is put on the public domain is open to be seen by anyone. Whether it be current employers, future employers, colleagues or friends, things in the digital world can very quickly become REAL problems.

During candidate screening it is not unusual for employers to research candidates by googling their name, it would benefit you to have a LinkedIn profile with a clear profile picture (not ones on the beach or next to monuments etc) and detailed but concise work history. A picture can speak a thousand words and a simple head shot with a welcoming smile can make you appear friendly and approachable in a single glance. This can also help you network and enable recruiters to find you and contact you through the site. If you are speaking to recruiters and connected with current colleagues I would always make sure that your alerts are switched off, otherwise your colleagues will be notified each time you gain a new contact and make it blatantly obvious you are looking to leave.

This should go without saying but don’t say negative things about the company you work for or people you work with on public accounts. Odds are it will get back to someone and I have an example of a friend being passed over for a promotion due to a throwaway comment on Facebook about how she hated her job. The comment was seen by another member of the team and escalated to our manager and within a day a formal meeting was held to discuss the status and how it reflects badly on the team/wider company. My advice is if you hate your job so much you need to complain about it over the internet, I would spend that energy looking for a new job and evaluate exactly what it is about the job you don’t enjoy so you don’t make the same mistake again in your next role.

Be very wary of talking about company competitors, while your comments may be your own personal views you have to look to the bigger picture and understand that it may be very embarrassing later on down the line if you get pulled up on it by your own company or in the future go for an interview for the company. It’s very common for people to move around between competitor companies especially in the media industry and these things can all make a difference in the application process. 

If you display your company name on your profiles I would always recommend to include a disclaimer along the lines of “Thoughts and comments are completely my own and do not in any way represent the opinions of my employer”. This just protects you to an extent as you can then say you made it perfectly clear should you ever be questioned about any comments you might have posted they don’t agree with, this point particularly applies to twitter. I say protects you to an extent, if you put something REALLY bad odds are you can still get in trouble.

Another point worth bearing in mind is that with twitter for example, think before posting, ask yourself "Am I going to regret putting stupid statuses and rude/obnoxious comments or just really controversial stuff etc which seem really cool and badass at the time, but possibly not so in the future?" As seen lately on the news with Paris Brown, old comments can come back to bite you in the bum and were ultimately responsible for her passing up the job of a lifetime due to pressures of the media, who let’s face it like to make or break people and rarely look for the positives. 

The bottom line is that with social media you are essentially your own brand representative and your online persona can very much portray you in a positive or negative way to real people, so when utilised correctly can be a very powerful tool. Use it to your advantage and you're halfway to winning people over, just don’t be a twat in real life and ruin your hard work!

Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts/tips in the comments below.

Love Sally x

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