Are you seeking a new job or trying to refine your personal brand? Many of us want to make a good impression on social media for one reason or another so that we are perceived in the way that we wish to be perceived.
Whether you keep a professional social media presence that is career-related or a personal presence seen by family and friends, it might be time to refresh your accounts and make sure you are doing yourself justice in the way that you present your life.
Employers scan social media to see if prospective employees are a good fit for their company and family members want to see what you’ve been up to. Unprofessional and inappropriate content on your social media accounts can hurt your overall reputation, causing you to miss out on great networking opportunities and sometimes even damaging relationships with people you love.
Don’t let that happen. Here are six tips for curating an engaging, on-brand, and professional social media presence.
Limit the Party Pics
You were a party animal in college and you have pictures of yourself with red solo cups in hand to prove it. While there is nothing bad about being yourself on social media, there is a right and a wrong way to express your wild side. Think about how your photos will be received. Do show off visits to art galleries, dancing at rock concerts, and impromptu gatherings with friends. Don’t post pics where you are drinking heavily, partaking in illegal activities, or presenting yourself as reckless and irresponsible.
Follow the golden rule of not posting anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother, or employer, to see. Always show the side of yourself that you’re most proud of, no matter what you’re using your social media for.
Watch Your Language
A whopping 68% of millennials admit to cursing while on the job, so you can imagine how many young professionals might curse freely on their social media platforms.
So you let out a few four-letter words on Twitter and Instagram occasionally—no big deal, right? Wrong. Foul language may unintentionally offend some of your followers or give them the wrong impression. Your social media should reflect your true personality and behavior, but using offensive language can cause people to lose respect for you (whether you agree with this or not).
You, of course, have a right to free speech, but when you put yourself in the public eye, you must accept the fact that your followers will make judgments about you based on what they see and read on your accounts.
Focus on the Positive
A positive attitude is an excellent asset in general, so why not show yours off on social media?
Complaining on social media can make you come across as a negative person, which can seriously hurt your reputation. Your followers could easily be deterred by whining or get tired of your poor attitude. It helps to make a mental shift within yourself in order to live more positively, and then to showcase that on social media instead.
Life has its fair share of hurdles and mishaps, but many of these are better kept private. If you want to earn respect and/or more followers, your social media is not the place to air out grievances or vent about drama. Let your profiles reflect the best version of yourself and make you proud.
Share What Sparks Joy
Are you an over-sharer? Is your newsfeed filled with meme after meme? It’s okay to share the occasional funny cat photo or go into too much detail about your most recent embarrassing moment, but you will get more out of your social media accounts if you are strategic about the content you share. For example, if you are using social media to advance in your career, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all excellent platforms for sharing articles and resources related to your field. If your accounts are personal, consider using them to motivate your friends and family, show new hobbies you’ve taken up, or talk about issues close to your heart.
Tell Your Story
Everyone has a life story worth telling, and sharing it online has never been easier. Without trying too hard to be interesting or unique and instead just being yourself, use social media to tell the world about yourself. Through images, videos, and text, use your platform to show everyone who you are and what motivates you.
Decide on a Message
If you’re looking to gear your social media platforms toward your brand or career, it’s a good idea to think of a message to stand behind. This could be anything from equal rights to making change for a healthier environment. When you focus on a single message and share it with consistency, you are more likely to attract people (potential employers, friends, or collaborators) with similar interests and passions and make a positive impact on the world.
The Importance of a Positive Social Media Presence
Some people will go through your social media platforms to get a better idea of who you are, whether this is a hiring coordinator, new friend, or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Curating and maintaining a positive social media presence will keep you ahead of the game in the next steps of your life and career. Life online is unavoidable, so be sure to take the bull by the horns and mold your image into exactly what you want it to be before carelessness does this for you.