In the past, a person’s reputation was based on their actions. Today’s generation is judged largely by how they are represented online. This is especially true for professionals who rely on the Internet – and specifically social media – to run their businesses and generate income for their families. A poor image online can equal disaster in real life.
The infamous social media overshare is one of the most annoying features of the new digital era.
You’re often surrounded by people who publicly flaunt their opinions and observations through digital means. Not long ago, the only place to share this kind of information was in person or by email. However, the emergence of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has provided people with a convenient forum to keep up with friends. In some cases, this ease of sharing has affected businesses negatively, leading to online reputation management issues.
We all possess a strong urge to unload our fury and frustration on the Internet. Most psychology researchers have attributed our desire for oversharing to a base need for controlling anxiety. According to a recent Harvard University study, approximately 80 percent of our social media posts revolve around telling friends and followers how we think or feel.
The law protects online users from self-incrimination, but confessions could prove to be detrimental for the success of your business. It’s rarely as simple as apologizing and moving on. Here are a few suggestions so that you’re not tasked with cleaning up the mess from someone’s decision to post potentially damaging updates, photos and videos.
Separate Business from Displeasure
Businesses want their customers to think that they’re smart, funny and interesting. Sometimes it just feels good to post about accomplishments in the workplace. However, bragging about accomplishments on Facebook, Twitter or other social-media sites can sometimes lead to instant regret.
People prone to indulge in oversharing should not be in charge of your business’s social media accounts. Your consumers are paying close attention to what you’re saying at all times and might be turned off from purchasing your product or service. Plus, your superiors might consider these posts to be rude and unflattering, which could result in termination.
Write a Few Ground Rules
For companies to earn a larger presence online, social media monitoring has to be a critical element in every social campaign. A thoughtful social media policy removes any confusion about what should and should not be posted on these sites. Employees must be reminded that their private affairs are not appropriate for professional sites. Business issues such as relocation benefits, health insurance plans and salaries are prime subjects of debates within the office, which is why they should be omitted from both the company’s and employees’ social media profiles.
Be Very Visual
The primary goal of your company’s social media identity is to connect with prospective customers and clients. Interactive engagement is key. Studies have shown that videos and photos are often more engaging – generating more re-tweets and Likes than text updates. Attractive videos and photos are great opportunities to display your products or services in a positive light.
It’s important to create boundaries between public and private life, as well as personal and professional life. Social media sites improve our daily lives in several ways, but they also serve as a tempting outlet for messages that are better left unsent. For your business, develop parameters so that each piece of content you distribute falls in line with your message.
About the Author: Blake Jonathan Boldt is a content strategist for Reputation Advocate. He provides writing, editing, social media and content strategy services for both domestic and international clients. His articles have been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and digital media outlets.