Managing your social media for the workplace might not seem like a priority, but it should be. You could be applying for a job. You could be succeeding in your current position. You could call in sick only to be fired because your boss saw the bender that you went on last weekend.
Now more than ever, managing your social media for the workplace is so important. Moderating your social media connectivity to display the right kind of image, not only to your friends, but also to current and potential employers, is crucial.
A good place to start when managing your social media accounts for the workplace is your Facebook. Potential employers will often “stalk” you on Facebook in order to get a better idea of possible employees. It’s the modern day equivalent of attaching a photo to your resume, albeit with far more information available for them to peruse.
A simple solution to this is changing your name on Facebook to a middle name or nickname, making you harder to find. However, if you’ve used the same email address to submit your resume as on your Facebook, employers can search you using the email, and find you anyway.
Because of this, the best option is to review your privacy settings. On the top left of your homepage there should be a little lock icon. Click on it and scroll down to the button that says, “view as.” This should take you to the page of your profile as it would appear to the public. From there, you can scroll through and change the privacy settings on posts you would prefer not to show your employers.
Remember, your current profile picture and cover photo are always publically visible, so make sure they portray you in a positive light. If you have to add your boss on Facebook, you can put them on “acquaintance” or “restricted” mode so they can’t see everything you post.
At the end of the day, if you think it’s going to cause you trouble, go with your instincts and don’t post it. A good rule of thumb to managing your social media for the workplace is don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with your grandma seeing.
Twitter can be a fantastic platform to engage in discussion, funny things that happened in your day, or interesting news stories. If you have a twitter, the best advice is to keep it updated but light. No one wants an employee who started a twitter feud with a Beyoncé fan about the real identity of “Becky with the good hair.” Show that you’re interesting and engaged with the news of the day by occasionally retweeting relevant stories, or tweeting about something funny that backs up your resume.
If you value privacy, and would prefer potential employers to be unable to view your Instagram, you can place the account on private while you’re waiting to hear back. Otherwise, don’t include your full name on your Instagram and you’ll be far harder to find.
Snapchat is one of the newest and fastest progressing social media tools to date. The company are in the process of opening an Australian office, and are constantly updating their filters. Most of the time this method of photo sharing remains under the radar in terms of job prospects, but it has the potential to make a huge difference. If you add your boss on Snapchat, or even a fellow employee, you must regulate what you post to your story.
If you are terribly sick and have to call in unwell to work, you are less likely to be believed if your weekend consisted of tequila shots and rum and cokes, which were documented on your story. What’s more, even if you regulate what you post, someone else could post something to their story or feed. It’s the sad truth of a socially connected world that you just never know who’s watching. This means you have to be careful.
Things to avoid when managing your social media for the workplace:
- Complaints about current or previous employers – this advice transcends social media platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re on twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a personal blog or even Snapchat, these things have a habit of coming back to bite you. It’s best to keep these complaints to conversation with close friends IF you have to share them at all.
- Anything illegal – even if you only smoked weed that one time in Amsterdam, it doesn’t set the best tone for anyone viewing your profile as an outsider.
- Unending selfies – it’s great that you love yourself, and you’re really confident in how you look, but if the only images on your Facebook profile are selfies, it can send the impression that you’re shallow and self-absorbed. Try to mix them up with group or action shots.
- Drinking – while everyone enjoys a good drink from time to time, try to avoid images or statuses that allude to you drinking in excess. A drink in the hand is fine – two may be pushing it.
- Political views – everyone has them, but you probably wouldn’t bring them up before you shake hands. Unless you’re going for a job where these things are celebrated, try to avoid controversial views on your public profile if you can help it.
Things to promote when managing your social media for the workplace:
- Your achievements – you volunteer at a soup kitchen once a week? Post a picture of you helping out. Perhaps you spoke at a wedding? A video of you toasting the happy couple says more than 100 words on your resume ever could.
- Animals – much like a dating profile, you seem much more trustworthy and likeable in the presence of a cute puppy, or a monkey sitting on your shoulder from that time you went to Bali. While children can have the same effect, the issue lies in distinguishing whether or not they’re your children or the neighbour’s that you commandeered for a cute photo.
- Activities – nothing says, “I’m cheerful, I’m likeable, and I would be an amazing new hire” more than pictures of you doing exciting things. Maybe you climbed a mountain last weekend (you can avoid mentioning it took your three hours and you nearly died of exhaustion). Maybe you had a barbeque in the park and played football. These things present you as a go-getter who likes being involved and active – all good traits for a new employee.
- Being the centre of attention – people like to do this anyway, but if you’re in the centre of an image, smiling and confident, you will be viewed in a far more positive light than frowning or looking away.
While it would be easy to tell you to be on your best behaviour at all times, we’re all human, we have likes and dislikes, lives beyond work, and mistakes happen. The best thing you can do is to think about what you post, present your best self on social media, and hope you will be seen as the person you are. Managing your social media for the workplace is an easy way to keep potential and current employers happy!