Many young adults are venting on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. What they don’t realize is how certain posts or comments can affect them in the future. Employers are now researching interviewees online to make sure they keep a clean profile and don’t hurt the brand or company’s image. Social media can be a successful personal brand tool if properly handled. Here are five suggestions for all young entrepreneurs and young adults looking for entry into their career field to keep in mind the next time you post something for the world to see.
Your Viewers Will Label You
What kind of person do you want to be? Are you that person online? Many times, we think we are smart or sassy when posting a tweet or status, but others may mistake it as ignorant or insulting. Viewers may even put words into your mouth – or post – that you didn’t say in the first place. This is not to discourage you from expressing your views and opinions but to keep caution about how others may take your word. Time and again, people are put under the ring of fire for saying something they didn’t exactly mean. Actors and celebrities know a little something about this. After all, one of the biggest quotes in cinematic history is unknowingly misquoted (unless you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan, of course).
Research Pays Off
You may think you can’t write a research paper while in school, but I’ve scavenged through both offline and online sources trying to find how to quote a person properly or searching for accurate information many times. Research is a skill that will not only help you with homework; it will give you credibility. If you feel like you’re missing something on a topic you want to voice your opinion about, read up on what other people are saying – and by other people I mean educated experts, authors of expert news articles, and relevant posts written by a knowledgeable journalist. Don’t take posts by other friends and family on Facebook seriously because it’s more likely to be a blind rant than a formally researched-based opinion post.
I believe most of us can agree that we’d feel mortified if our mothers read something inappropriate about us online, or anywhere really. Use the Mom test to evaluate if you should be posting your thoughts: “Would I want my mom to read that?” If the answer is”no” you might want to double think about sending that funny – and probably passively-offensive – tweet. Think about this when one of your favorite celebrities has another tripping moment caught on camera – J. Lawrence, I’m looking at you – or the “Fifty Shades Darker” trailer airs.
Guard Access To Your Posts
Privacy settings are very important when posting controversial content on your profile. Some states have laws against employer permission to access applicant’s’ social media information. While these states protect the everyday social media lover to some extent, it is better to be cautious about what you are posting online and who is viewing it. Twitter and Facebook have privacy policies that can protect you from unwanted eyes but not from the law. You don’t have to hide what you want to say, just consider some privacy on your content.
People want to read what they haven’t seen already. Recycled posts and tweets may show your followers your interests but don’t necessarily express your views. Write about something that will start a conversation. Comment on a post with a G-rated and educated opinion and people will take you seriously about what it is you have to say. Write about an incident-turned-lesson that you’ve applied as your motto. Instagram your favorite picture of the month and caption it with what happened that day. Online credibility goes a long way in your career and future.
Keeping up with social media while figuring out how to run a brand or company can exhaust you, but it will teach you that reputation is important for credibility. The millennial generation is used to technology and its “freedom of speech” ability, but employers also know how to filter through social media networks and online searches for any flagged content on a future employee. If you want a career that possibly puts your life out for the public to see, keeping a clean social media profile makes a difference when gaining followers, partners, and even investors.