Let’s have a discussion on social media and why your private accounts need just as much care as your business’s–sometimes even more.
Wait, my personal accounts?
Yes. I know it’s invasive, but people are going to google you. They’re going to search out your facebook, your twitter, and your linkedin (which has become wildly popular in the last year or so; good for you guys). And this won’t be a cursory glance–customers and clients that seek out staff or employees via social media are looking for something. And maybe they don’t even know what it is.
…but I know it when I see it… –Potter Stewart
And the varied customer responses to your reviews, public information, shares, hashtags, and personal views can make or break a deal. You may think you closed the pitch in the conference room, but there’s always the looming danger that your 2011 politically-charged status update could wither those negotiations quickly. Where does that leave you? Miserable (and broke).
I know. And there’s really no way to protect yourself 100% without cutting your social media out of your online presence. Even making your accounts private, or disallowing your profile to pop up during a search can leave you exposed–once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever. Now is a great time to reflect and cringe on your middle and high school social media use. And just as an FYI, MySpace (Myspace?) still exists; take a second to delete that.
Why are they looking at my stuff? Do I really matter, here?
Yeah, you do. It doesn’t matter what your job title is, if someone can find you and where you work, your social presence is fair game. And why wouldn’t they seek out as much information as possible? Maybe you’ll have positive content like photos or reviews or even a status update about how much you love your job. Or it’ll be a twitter thread about your boss’s weird email sign-off. And honestly, while the latter sounds hilarious and please send me any similar links, it’s not strong marketing.
That being said, a page full or shares and posts and likes and reviews centered around your job (or heaven forbid you have the company in your name) is about the fakest thing you can do. It’s painfully obvious, detracts from the overall trust of the company, and takes precious time to keep up. Save your marketing budget for your business, not micro-managing or falsifying social media profiles. You have so many better things to do with your time than be annoying online.
To sum it up, your social media is only important to business if you’re being negative. Don’t do that.
How do I clean it up?
Man, if there was ever a time for my weird and oddly-specific skills to shine through, this is it.
Let’s explore your privacy settings. Here’s the top five to look at before we move on to other forms of social:
- Who can see your future posts?
- Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?
- Who can see your friends list?
- Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?
- Who can tag you and who can see it?
All of these settings can be reached under the Privacy and Timeline and Tagging tabs in your Settings.
(One more thing, mostly for personal security: revoke Facebook’s facial recognition ability.)
And before you leave–delete your bio and make any and all About information private, and ensure your profile and cover photo aren’t highlighting your worst habits.
Twitter has a much easier privacy platform. Simply make your account private (Privacy and safety under Settings and privacy), wipe your bio, and keep your handle tame (no xXx or 42069 here, brah).
Instagram, despite being a Facebook abomination, is also relatively easy to lock down. Find your account privacy setting under Connections within your Privacy tab. Clean up your profile picture and make your bio something worthwhile. (Side note: you may have committed countless social media sins, but you’ve never put someone else’s @handle in your bio–don’t start now. We raised you better than that.)
Ahhh, the grown up of social media. It’s all about connections, a platform to share ideas, and a place to post the highest-quality head shot you have.
(Off-topic, but stand with your toes pointed inward, shift your weight to your back leg, and exhale as the shutter clicks for the best head shots).
Locking down your LinkedIn should be a fairly low priority. But, should you feel exposed to potential snoops, it’s easy to find your Settings & Privacy under the Me tab at the top of the page. From there, you’ve got multiple security and privacy options to explore.
Okay, cool, but why?
Because you want to make money, right? Do you want to be successful and have the upper hand on your competition? Then make sure your personal social falls in line. Don’t become apathetic about how the world perceives you, the individual.
The Ultimate Sin
Answer honestly–have you friended, followed, retweeted, liked, commented, or shared from your clients in a way that wasn’t directly involved with your business?
Yeah. Stop doing that immediately and remove/hide/undo as many as you reasonably can (within the last couple of years should keep you safe).
Your personal social media is super important, so make sure that everything is private. Don’t lose business over your social media posts.
Social Media is a Snake
Your social media isn’t a joke when it comes to online marketing and advertising for your business. If you’re even tangentially connected, you should know and accept the risks of your post history, engagement, and any public information (including photographs). Keep your private life private and rest easy knowing your nose at least looks clean.