Social Media: You can run, but you can’t hide

The perfect manicure for a social media freak.
Photo: http://pinterest.com/

Alarm goes off, I reach over to disconnect my iPhone from its charger, and then continue to lay in bed. While struggling to keep my eyes open (really, really struggling) I multitask between snoozing, reading e-mails, text messages, tweets, and my Facebook news feed. Sound familiar? Let’s admit it, the way most of us start and end our days revolves around social media. As an aspiring PR professional, there’s really no shame in this- it’s something I should get used to. Most, if not all, PR professional’s daily routines consist of spending time –multiple times– checking various social media outlets. Should I fully embrace this? Perhaps… Actually no, not completely.

“Be careful with what you post on the internet. You never know when a future employer is watching!” Has anyone ever told you this? I personally feel like I’ve heard this from everyone and their mothers. But, nonetheless I am thankful for the constant reminder because it’s true. Better to be safe than sorry!

Twitter for dinner anyone?
Photo: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/11258.aspx 

Since no personal social media platform is identical (we are all unique individuals, right?), I think it’s best for everyone to have their own set of rules.  It honestly took me a while to figure out what changes I needed to make to my personal platforms, but I now have a pretty standard set of “dos and don’ts”. If you have yet been able to professionally use your social media, I have picked the top two most popular platforms to talk about. These few social media marketing tips and reminders below will help you make sure you don’t do anything you will later regret– and not to mention, get left behind.

Facebook. With the millions and millions of active users every day, it’s smart to be aware of who you allow to see your uploaded pictures, tagged pictures, videos, and statuses. The last thing you want happening at an interview is for your future employer to pull up a picture of you and your friends from the party you went to last weekend. Take the time to become familiar with your privacy and account settings. Also, know that you have the option to create limited profiles for the people you wish to maintain a professional relationship with (or possibly even those weird distant relatives, old friends from high school, co-workers, etc). Here’s another thing to think about– would you be comfortable about giving a potential employer your Facebook password if they asked for it? What if it meant putting your new possible job on the line? Leslie Horn, news reporter for PCMag,  talks about the new social media Trend Watch: Employers Asking Candidates For Facebook Passwords.  If this was you, would it make or break your next interview?

Facebook stats. Do you fit into any of these?
Photo: http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/facebook-statistics-stats-facts-2011/ 

Twitter. Although some say Twitter is meant for expressing all thoughts throughout the day, simply don’t do it. Please. Pretty please. First of all, it’s annoying- no one really cares what you are doing every single second of the day. Second of all, it is not professional. Keep your tweets interesting, relevant and original! When using hashtags, don’t overuse them. I, for one, will be the first to admit of posting a few hashtag overloaded tweets. But honestly, putting a hashtag when least necessary will only end up annoying your followers (and perhaps making you lose some). Also, because Twitter is known to function at a faster pace than other social media platforms, there is a lot of room for mistakes and misspells. Always tweet with proper grammar and spelling to maintain a professional image. Believe it or not, but something as simple as composing a casual 140-character limit tweet incorrectly can be the ultimate deal breaker for your future employer. It will get you on a quick ride to the “not qualified” list!

“The friends you make on Twitter are real relationships,” said Aliza Licht, the senior vice president for global communications at Donna Karan International, in a NY Times Fashion & Style article on Feb. 15, 2012. Better known to her Twitter followers as DKNY PR Girl, Licht added that she hired her assistant and an intern through  Twitter.

Wise words in 2012.
Photo: http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com 

Whether it’s tweeting, updating your status or posting pictures, use each platform to your advantage by creating your own voice. At yesterday’s UT PRSSA ethics meeting, Matt Mackowiak, president of Potomac Strategy Group, could not have said it better:

“In the world we live in today, you are your own brand,” said Mackowiak. “Be who you want to be and then interact with people in that way. Everything you do with Twitter and Facebook, even while you are a student, will always follow you.”

Help or hinder?
Photo: http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/stand-out-with-a-modern-resume/
Courtesy of: Colorado Technical University

Remember to be consistent, yet cautious with what you put on the internet. Keep in mind what kind of presence you want people to get from your platforms.

What will your brand be?

You might also like…
The Social Media Marketing Blog
What PR pros need to know about Facebook Timeline for brands
How three big media trends affect the PR industry
9 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros

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