DOs and DON’Ts for Representing Yourself Online

DOs&DONTsA couple years ago I wrote a post about Facebook etiquette, and how you should polish your online persona just as much as you do your resume. Today, I’d like to elaborate a bit on the DOs and DON’Ts for ANY social media channel you might use to make up your online persona. Before we dive into it though, I’d like to reiterate why it is so important in the first place.

First, people (and employers!) WILL look for you online. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Now, ask yourself, what will they find? Will they be impressed or put off? Second, even before having an online presence that represents you positively, it’s important to have a presence in the first place. I recommend that everyone have an online presence to showcase your knowledge and skills, but if you are in marketing or business, you MUST have an online presence. Think about it, if you’re applying for a position that includes social media or online marketing and you don’t even have a Twitter account, do you think they’ll hire you? Probably not.

So, now that we’re clear that you should have an online persona, and that it’s important that it is positive, let’s look at some DOs and DON’Ts for today’s top channels:

Facebook

Facebook DODON’T share information or post pictures that would make someone’s nose wrinkle. For example, posting a picture of you drinking a beer when you were 18, writing a status about the color of your latest (fill in the blank), or ranting and raging about your ex is just NOT appropriate. Seriously, use your judgement! Oh, and talking about how much time you have left before you serve your jail time is also not appealing.

DO use Facebook to share what you’re interested in and connect with family and friends. We are all human, and we like to socialize, hence the immense popularity of Facebook. Feel free to post a picture of you eating dinner with your family or share an article about something you like. Just be you – a positive and happy you.

Twitter

DON’T use profanity or be a spammer. People also don’t really want to know that you failed your chemistry exam or how bloated you feel. Tweets were not designed for the world to hear about your ailments or how much you hate this or that. And, like I said, don’t be a spammer – don’t assume the default Twitter egg is a perfectly good profile picture, or that tweeting mystery links to strangers is okay.

DO share your knowledge and post interesting articles. Start conversations with like-minded professionals. RT a valuable infographic or blog post (make sure you read it first!). Twitter can be a powerful networking tool and a good way to help you share information related to your expertise.

Twitter DOLinkedIn

DON’T leave your profile outdated. If you’re profile still says you’re working at the cafe you waited tables at in high school, you definitely need to make some revisions. You also shouldn’t have a profile picture of you in your swimsuit. LinkedIn is a professional network!

DO showcase your work and take advantage of LinkedIn features. LinkedIn is your online resume – make sure to tell people what you do or did in a particular position, and try to get recommendations for them too. Add pictures, videos, or slideshares that relate to your experience (this is one of LinkedIn’s new and awesome features). Visuals can compliment your experience in many ways.

LinkedIn DO

In the end, it comes down to presenting yourself in a way that you wouldn’t want to hide from anyone, whether it be your grandmother or a potential employer. Present yourself and communicate in a way that you would face-to-face, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Do you have more DOs and DON’Ts to add? Post them in the comments!

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One thought on “DOs and DON’Ts for Representing Yourself Online

  1. Pingback: FAQ: Should I let employers see my social media channels? | SocialMediaForStudents.com

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