PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

The Young Professionals Guide To Social Networks

In Lessons Learned, Social Media, Young Professionals on February 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm

People use social networks impulsively. It becomes an outlet for many things, whether it is to network, keep in touch, find out more information, or just to vent! What young professionals should keep in mind at all times is the overall impact information released on these sites can have on their lives – personally and professionally. Here are some general guidelines to adhere to that will help maintain a healthy social network image.

When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to being a professional, it is ok to be yourself on social networks. No one expects you to be a professional 24 hours a week 365 days a year. It is expected that on the other side of that blackberry, android, or computer is a human being and not every day is going to be a good day. Those you connect with on social networks will appreciate this and may also be able to connect with you on those feelings. However it is important to be conscious of how much of ‘you’ should be revealed. Just because you’re having a bad day does not mean that you should use offensive language or offer uncomfortable details of your experiences. The best rule of thumb is if you would not use derogatory language in a professional setting, it probably should not be posted on social networks either. PERIOD. Remember that you’re always ‘on’ in social media realm, and somebody is ALWAYS watching. Don’t give them a show, you might regret in the future.

Be A Friendly Follower

One golden rule that we should all be very familiar with by now; “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” By doing this on social networks you’ll develop a reputation for being a worthy friend and follow who other users will want to pass along to their network. Keep in mind that both good news and bad news travels fast, so always be prepared to make a good impression. You wouldn’t make a nasty comment to a person you just met at work or school would you? In fact I bet you’d probably go above and beyond to seem friendly and helpful. Apply that same attitude to your social media activity. Keep in mind that once you’ve established a relationship with an online contact, you can ask for advice or help, but be prepared to reciprocate these efforts. But don’t abuse those privileges by logging on just to ask people to do something for you.

Quality Over Quantity

You can earn respect on social media sites by offering quality, accessible information in a friendly way. Share relevant links, commentary and helpful advice. However, if you’re on social media sites constantly, you’ll burn yourself out and possibly annoy other people. Find a balance so that you’re making quality contributions to the discussion, not dominating it. As we know “your network is you net worth”. You’ll never broaden your network if you don’t connect with people outside of your circle and comfort zone. Be willing to open yourself up to all types of followers and friends. But keep in mind you can’t be friends with everyone online – keep it professional; trying to do so will make you crazy and it will give your timeline sensory overload! Make educated, intentional and meaningful connections.

These guidelines will help maintain your social media image. The reality is it matters more how people truly view  or perceive you then how you THINK they view you. Those that befriend you on social networks are not privy to knowing everything about you so you must be mindful of what they do see and conduct yourself in a personal yet professional manner. If you have not done this prior to now, do not be discouraged, it is never too late to develop good habits. In the words of Maya Angelou “When you know better, you do better”

Be sure to look for my next post entitled “Breaking Down The Networks” for guidelines on Twitter and Facebook specific rules!

  1. […] with theme of our previous blog post where the Do’s and Dont’s of  building personal and professional relationships via […]

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