Is Your Personal Facebook Page Killing Your Business, Brand or Reputation?
So, how many years has this social media thing been around? 15 years? 20 years? Long enough that most people should have learned the what-not-to-do lessons by now; but alas, we’re surrounded by slow learners.
Certainly, I could write a tome on the subject but let’s keep it brief and on the question I pose in the subtitle – Is Your Personal Facebook Page Killing Your Business? In case you need a reminder, few people and businesses are going to hire you or do business with you without checking out your social media first. Yes, they are going to Google you and search you out on Facebook and other media. If this comes as a surprise to you welcome to the new(ish) world.
First and foremost, let me jump right to Facebook’s security settings before I touch on anything else. I advise you to stop what you’re doing right now, including the reading of this article and check out the Settings section of your Facebook page. Chances are, if you kept the Facebook defaults, your account is wide open to the world. Check out the settings now and lock it down. This will stop many of these soon-to-be mentioned items from coming back to haunt you should you decide to ignore my recommendations.
Secondly, review your Friends List. If you accept just any request that comes through you’re asking for trouble! This is how hackers access your photos and your contacts and duplicate your account. Shut this down immediately by not accepting unfamiliar or duplicate friend requests. Duplicate requests from what appears to be someone you’re already friends with is most likely a fraudulent, duplicate account looking to do bad things with your information (and face). Also, if your “friends” can’t be trusted to not share something you’ve posted – delete them! Don’t take the chance! There are haters on your pages that will use your posts against you. Don’t let that happen.
Third, don’t post anger- or hate-filled rants. Honestly, the world doesn’t need to know your opinion no matter how badly you feel the urge to vomit it all over social media. Certainly, you have the right to do so, but how is a potential client or boss going to perceive it? Are you always negative and dissatisfied? Is what you’re posting worth alienating friends, family, and potential business. If yes, post away and accept the consequences. You’ve been warned.
Lastly, what do the Shares, Photos, and Videos you post say about you? Try to look at your Facebook activity through the eyes of an outsider and ask yourself what opinion they will develop about your lifestyle, your priorities, beliefs and basic morals or lack thereof. Don’t forget to watch the content your friends tag you on. Yes, tagging can be turned off! I recommend it so you don’t appear guilty by association. If it appears on your social media pages it’s assumed you approved it.
“Would I care if this post ends up on the 6 o’clock news?”– Steve Baker
By now, hopefully, the full picture of how social media can make or break a career is pretty obvious. I’ve heard people recommend the practice of asking this question before posting, “Would I care if this post ends up on the 6 o’clock news?” Stop and think before posting because once it is out there it could potentially end up anywhere and (gulp) everywhere!
In this time, it is common practice for human resources, recruiters and hiring managers to scour the web to better determine the kind of person you are before granting that interview. Unfortunately, you’re never going to know the missed opportunities your drunken weekend, racist rants, religiously intolerant or disrespectful posts caused. Just a few weeks ago I personally fired a company due to the owner’s hateful and name-calling posts about his clients. Yes, his own clients! This wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to do business with or be associated with. Aside from the sheer stupidity of making such mistakes, the fact that the owner was a “marketing expert” prove that even some of the professionals still haven’t learned their lesson. You can bet, however, in the example above they got ‘schooled’ quickly when the firing occurred. You simply “don’t bite the hand that feeds” people.
So, clean up your act on Facebook and other social media if needed. Learn the security features each social platform has built-in and lock out anyone you don’t want to see your posts. While many of you can’t resist the power that comes in offending your friends and family, at least lock it down to keep your business and/or employment safe from judgmental spies.