Just about everybody has heard about Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and YouTube. Avid users talk about connecting with family, networking with past colleagues, and meeting new contacts.
Social media sites allow this to happen, and much more. You can post photos, blogs, “status updates”, job history, family relationships, event listings, and just about anything you can imagine. The more you post, the more “value” that you give your connections. Family can see their pictures. Your professional connections can see your credentials. And recruiters, researchers, HR professionals, and your boss can see this too. The question is, do you want them to? And if the answer is yes, how do you mitigate the risk, and avoid embarrassment or finding yourself disqualified from an opportunity.
Here are some suggestions:
Put yourself in the shoes of each potential audience type. If there is something that you would rather they not see (for whatever reason), then do something about it.
Imagine your closest friend or a parent. Is there anything online that you would be embarrassed if this person saw, either in your postings, or others’ comments? If so, you’ll probably need to do something about it.
Is there something that a client or your manager – either current or former – might dispute as being not completely true? You probably should do something about this as well.
So what can you do about these and other issues?
Use privacy controls to only expose what you want to who you want. Pretty much every social media site has decent privacy controls, and they are often upgraded with little or no notice. That being said, each site’s terms and conditions also change with little or no notice, and many have now been changed to allow paid “search” access to your profile – even by people you do not know.
Only post accurate information, and avoiding exaggerations, omissions, or other white lies. You wouldn’t be inaccurate in your resume; doing so in a public forum is even more foolish.
Only post information (status updates, photos, notes, etc) that supports your personal brand.
Delete inappropriate or low-value posts from others that creep onto your social media profiles.
This week’s action item: Pretend that you are a prospect, client, recruiter, supplier, or business partner. Look at your own LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media profiles through each of their eyes. Are there any red flags that may cause concern or signal risk? If so, then follow the strategies above to mitigate your risk. You will want to expose enough of yourself to add value… but not so much that you risk disqualifying yourself from opportunities that others might bring to you.
Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.