The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions, policies, or positions of StreetShares or any of its affiliates.
Once upon a time, social media was just for fun, but that is no longer the case. I have found throughout the years that when the phrase "social media" is spoken in an office setting, one of two reactions will follow. Someone will perk up, eager to share something they learned that they feel revolutionary, or someone will grimace in pain at the thought. Social media has become a double-edged sword. Some of us may enjoy the ability to stay up to date with friends and family no matter their geographic location. Some may cringe at the thought of it because they know someone who has turned their social media pages into an embarrassing personal journal.
Regardless of where you fall in all of this, social media and the professional world go hand-in-hand. The same way you use Yelp or TripAdvisor to vet someone, someplace or something, HR representatives and potential customers do the same thing to you. However, finding the balance between business and pleasure with social media may not be as tricky as you think. Here are five ways to kick your social media professionalism up a notch.
1. Get Active
With 94% of recruiters leaning on LinkedIn to recruit talent, being active is essential. The same is true for Facebook and Twitter. If you're unfamiliar with social media, algorithms rule the roost. When you are more active or engaged on social media (posting, sharing, etc.), the system recognizes that and in turn improves your chances of being spotted by a recruiter. Let's say that you want to attract business to your page. To help the overall visibility of your page, you need to active and engaged on it as well as that account.
2. Paint A Picture With Words
Employers, potential investors, or customers want to see a well-rounded, contributing member to society. Showcase causes that you are passionate about and your efforts within those areas. The same is true for your skill sets and abilities. Remember, searches are often done using keywords, especially if we are talking about filling an employment vacancy. Put yourself ahead of the crowd by giving the information that they want in advance. If you are unfamiliar with what types of words you should be using, look at other people or businesses that are successful and note their verbiage to begin to formulate ways you can convey your message.
3. Check Yourself
If spelling and grammar is not your forte, don't sweat it- but don’t ignore it, either. Consider turning to apps such as Grammarly to help you in that area. This application can be downloaded to your smartphone or web browser to continuously check everything you type. It might not seem like a big deal right now but consider it this way: if you boast about how detail-oriented you are, but your social media sites are littered with spelling and grammatical errors, there isn't a balance there. We all have weaknesses, know yours and get ahead of the curve.
4. Join Groups (But Actually Join Them)
Think about the last group you joined on any social media platform. Now think about what your contribution to that group has been and what have you learned because of joining this group. Do you even access the group or check on it regularly or has it become something you scroll past? Just because there is a social media group for practically everything, these days does not mean you have to join all of them. Join a group (or two) and be active as a member. If a group is not what you thought it would be, then leave! Your newsfeed, just like your time, is a valuable resource. Try to not flood it with items you know you will never use.
Also by Adriana Clifford: How to Network (Even if You Hate it)
5. Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry
Listen, we have all been there. We have had a person or a situation make us go from zero to 60 in seconds. Sometimes it can be very tempting to take refuge with an electronic device and a blinking cursor. For the sake of yourself and your professional identity, please don't. Bad mouthing former employees, work situations or having strong political opinions are all persona non-grata on social media platforms. There is a time and a place for these topics, and this is not one of them. Bear in mind that even with adjusted privacy settings, you still have an audience- and you never know who knows whom. Don't unknowingly self-sabotage opportunities.
6. A Picture Is Not Always Worth A Thousand Words
We live in a time where our cell phones have become a one-stop shop for all things. I swear when we travel, and I pull a real camera out of my bag, people look at me oddly. In a time where we are capturing every moment of our lives digitally, leave some of those memories on your memory card. Here's the thing: you are a brand. Period. How you represent your brand is initially judged by what people do (or do not) find on your social media pages. Before you hit the 'post' button, try to put yourself in the viewers' shoes. Would they think you were on point for the caliber of a potential employee, business partner or business owner they are seeking? No one is perfect, but professionals represent themselves as such no matter the setting.
Want more great small business content like this, delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to the StreetShares blog!
This communication is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be an advertisement, a solicitation, or constitute professional advice, including legal, financial, or tax advice, nor is StreetShares providing advice on any particular situation.