Social Media Strategy

I don’t care what people say: what you put on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social page does impact your career and others around you.

The topic of conversation this week, among clients and in personal conversations, has been about how much to put out there, and how much to keep quiet.

Blogging or posting or tagging in personal life does impact professional – and vice versa. My whole life, my father has quoted his mother, “Out of your mouth, printed,” when trying to encourage me to think before I speak. But in this era of social media, it is so much more imminent and far-reaching.

Once posted, it’s out there forever – even when you remove a post, it lives in some form in the back cobwebby attics of the Internet. Forever.

So what you say, how you say it, and its effect can potentially last longer than you. Seriously. What does that say about the power of our words?

Sometimes, it’s best to put it in writing and blast it on a wall. Sometimes, voice to voice is the best and only way to get a point across without blasting your reputation for life.

If you post about your ratty neighborhood, it potentially affects property value and your neighbors. If you post about your workplace, however nicely, it affects co-workers, employers and the company’s reputation. And the thing about this type of one-dimensional communication is that it is open for interpretation – what you intend to be nice and benign could be read as harmful.

So what’s the point of all this? It’s that we are managing brands – the brand of ME, the brand of YOU – all day, every day. What we say, and where we say it, is no longer just a personal matter.

It’s not me on my Genie phone late at night under the covers. It’s muttering to a world audience.

What a heavy task. What a huge impact. What a responsibility.

It’s not so cool for employers to monitor employees’ Facebook pages. Except that what they put out there becomes associated with the company they work for, by connection – people know you work for X, so what you say reflects on X. Plain and simple.

Every person must have his/her own social media strategy. What is fodder for public consumption? What should be kept close to the cuff?

What to post? What to keep confidential? And what does confidential mean in today’s globally connected landscape?

There are those who will read these words or hear of them and say, “That’s it – I am not engaging in the public forum. I’m off Facebook, I’ll never try Twitter.”

That’s unrealistic and unwise. This is the world we live in; we have to be part of the conversation if we want what we do to get noticed, to matter, to contribute to the greater good. Especially if it’s a workplace conversation – get in the fold, people. Don’t be afraid. Just be smart.

I’m not saying be artificial online. Be real. Just not too real. Because you never know what’s going to come back to bite you.

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