Social media used to be only for teenagers and college students, when the likes of MySpace and early versions of Facebook were still around. Today, social media has become the cornerstone of marketing, accessibility to information and real-time opinions. The use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has helped companies reach millions of consumers and has helped thousands of people connect in a way that was never possible. However, many individuals end up abusing this privilege and forget that social media is also public, very public. A simple Google search by employers or potential employers can reveal all of your social media networks.
Axelle Despiegelaere, a seventeen-year old, labelled the world’s most beautiful football fan has recently lost her opportunity with L’Oreal. After photographs of her gorgeous blonde hair and Belgium inspired pompoms went viral, L’Oreal contacted her to be a part of the L’Oreal Professional Belgique social media campaign. Unfortunately, shortly after her big debut (which included a hair tutorial that received more than a million views), pictures surfaced of her smiling over hunted game with the caption, “Hunting is not a matter of life or death. It’s much more important than that..this was about 1 year ago…ready to hunt americans today haha”. L’Oreal was not laughing at all, and after the irresponsible remarks by Axelle, they wanted nothing to do with her. L’Oreal would not comment on the reason for termination, however, they did stress that they do not test on animals and do not support those actions.
Axelle is just an example of thousands of people who have lost their jobs due to unprofessional comments on social media. So here are some tips on how to protect your career and make your presence online professional:
1. What is the purpose of your account?
Is your account for the purpose of promoting your product, for networking purposes or to promote your company? Depending on your audience, I’m not sure if your general consumers wants to see you having Twitter/Facebook conversations with your co-workers.
2. Just because you put “The views expressed are my own” in your bio, doesn’t mean can post whatever you want.
3. If you’re going to have two Twitter accounts, one for personal use and one for professional use, BE SURE YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHICH ONE YOU’RE TWEETING ON.
One of the biggest culprits of Twitter slip ups are those running two accounts, simultaneously. You might be on your phone and accidentally “forget” that you’re posting on the company account instead. This can result in quite a big mess, just ask the KitchenAid employee who made a repulsive tweet about Obama’s grandmothers’ death on the company account.
4. Social media has allowed us to share pictures and video, this is both a blessing and a curse.
It is a great way to show off a product or put a face to a brand. However, you do not want to put up pictures of yourself in a vulnerable position. Pictures of yourself drunk, showing off tattoos in obscure places or in provocative clothes is not professional and does not help your image. Maybe if you were Miley Cyrus, you could take a chance at it.
5. Don’t be afraid to unfriend or block someone online.
Maybe you don’t always want to see someone political/religious rants or them replying to your posts with radical ideas. Sometimes, even if they’re your friend you have to delete them for the sake of your professional image. You cannot have friends posting on your Facebook wall about all your extracurricular activities (hint, hint) you wouldn’t want the world to know. Often than not, it’s better to keep your private life, exactly that, private.
How do you use social media in the professional setting?
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