Social media has changed the way most people communicate and collaborate. The use of social media sites is growing rapidly, with 74% of adults using them (as of January 2014). With the growing power and pervasiveness of mobile devices, social media is now at most peoples’ fingertips. 40% of cell phone owners use social media on their cellphones, and statistics show that social media is actually the number one activity on the web!
Okay, those are the numbers, now let’s talk about the rules. Yes, there are rules for social media that business professionals (and anyone else) should follow.
Carefully pick your profile picture
You want people to see accurate representations of who you are. You don’t want to include pictures that you don’t want your boss to see. That rules out pictures of you at bars, clubs, rallies– unless they representations of your brand. Professional headshots are always safe.
Never tweet while intoxicated
You had a few glasses of wine at dinner. You’re scrolling through your phone and you stumble across your Twitter app or your Facebook app. You think of something incredibly funny and Tweet-Worthy. Step one: DON’T! Never drink and post. Ever.
Always read over your tweets and Facebook posts for grammar and spelling errors. Be careful with abbreviations, because they can easily be misunderstood.
You want to post on a consistent basis. Posting consistently maximizes your brand’s presence, thus maximizing your chances of exposure. When you’re not posting consistently on your social networking site, it’s kind of like you’re sitting in the corner of the room while everyone is talking and connecting.
Don’t overdo it
You want to post on a consistent basis, but you don’t want to post too much on your social media accounts. Forbes.com suggests that more than three posts a day can be a little excessive.
Follow back and interact
Just like you want to post consistently, you also want to follow back. We can’t all accumulate 13 million followers while only following only ten people. In order to build your brand, you should follow back and maybe even give a few retweets and comments.
Should you post it?
You type up this long, intricate post that you think is perfect to share to your friends. But before hitting the submit button, you have to ask yourself “Would I be okay with anyone seeing this?” Would you feel comfortable saying what you’re about to tweet or post to everyone on your friends list? If you think that your post would be offensive if said in person, chances are it is offensive on Twitter and Facebook too.
Your social media behavior really comes down to what you intend to use your sites for. You can protect your Twitter account so that your tweets are private, and you can change your Facebook privacy settings so that you are essentially incognito, but remember that anything that you post to the internet is there forever, and it is possible to find tagged pictures through the page of the person tagged. Always be aware of what you post on the internet!