Tia: my home phone # is 555-666-1212
(Stalker Creepers you need not apply and please do not call!)
Mom: Tianna Elaine get our house phone off FaceBook right now!
Tia: Ah, Mom! My page is protected no one can see this.
Mom: Get it off now or lose your Facebook privileges.
Tia: It’s down. Hope you’re happy! My friend needed our number for her new phone.
Mom: Then she can call us.
This is an actual conversation between my daughter Tia and myself. She actually thought she was safe posting personal information on a “protected” page. It made me wonder how often business professionals maintained a “less-than-healthy” social media paranoia at work.
Paranoia? Healthy? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s true. Every professional should exercise caution when tweeting, blogging, or commenting online.
Reputations have been irreparably harmed, jobs terminated, and customers lost due to employees not thinking twice about what they said online. Don’t get me wrong. Social media sites CAN be really beneficial for search engine optimization, company visibility, and that all-important “reputation” (that we’ve all been guarding that since high school!) Still, you need some important guidelines for the work place use of social media.
- Keep personal and professional Facebook, Twitter etc. accounts separate.
- It you have to think twice about posting something, don’t do it, or at least run it by a senior director first.
- Always remember, regardless of where you are, you represent your company. Don’t answer a comment in anger. Don’t be rude. You must retain a level of professionalism even when contradicting people, or taking a firm stance on an issue.
- Ask a colleague to check blog posts before they are sent out. This ensures that tone and content are correct.
- Make sure facts stay facts, and opinions are clearly your own.
- Remember that the internet has a long memory. Don’t publish anything that could come back and bite you.
By sticking to these few important guidelines, you will put a barrier between your company’s reputation, and the kind of mess that should only be seen on certain popular celebrities blogs and tweets on E!TV.
Oh, and by the way, names used in this article were changed to protect the not so innocent.