Go on, join the conversation; share, care, learn, and engage for personal and business benefit. Great. OK. No problems. But how?
One of the constants for me during my time online has been the question “how do I effectively engage to produce a certain outcome, one where I will keep my professional credibility without looking like a loser to my friends”. My lesson has been to stay true to myself while respecting my multifaceted personalities. No, that’s not meant to suggest that I have a personality dis-order. However, it does suggest that I, and you do too, have a business personality, and a personal one. Think about it. You won’t act the same with me in person as you would your sister, best friend, school mate, client, work colleague, or boss. And with our work/life lines blurring thanks to the introduction of the social medias, it’s a trend that many people struggle with and it’s definitely where a lot go wrong.
To manage your own reputation, in this space, it’s best to have conversations in moderation and to use social media in moderation. In business, online postings should not disclose any information that is confidential or proprietary to you or a company or to any third party that has disclosed information to you.
So, here are 7 ways you can manage your reputation online without looking like a loser. These have been taken from the Social Media Guidelines written “way back”, and they are just as relevant today.
1) Be friendly. Of course, this is obvious, but we all have bad days. They just don’t need to be published online. Nobody likes a bore or negativity and your friends are there for you offline, just call. Best practice is to remain friendly, responsible and positive when online.
2) Listen before you talk. Before entering any conversation, understand the context. Who are you speaking to? Is there a good reason for you to join the conversation? Write what you know. Know your facts and cite your sources. If the topic is controversial, sometimes it’s simply better to leave it well alone.
3) Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent. It’s your reputation.
4) Be responsive. When you gain insight, share it where appropriate. True engagement comes from a conversation and conversations can take on all sorts of tangents as we know. So, when being responsive, we don’t mean “shoot from the hip”. We mean be involved, join in the conversation and be confident about your replies in a friendly and credible way.
5) Be respectful. Don’t cite or reference others without their approval. When you do make a reference, link back to the source. Don’t publish anything that might allow inferences to be drawn which could embarrass or damage a person.
6) Be honest. Be the first to respond to your own mistakes. Remain factual. Everyone loves honesty and someone who will own up to their mistakes publicly. It will gain you trust and respect.
7) Be sensible. You are legally responsible for your postings (yes, even on your personal Facebook profile), and so you may be subject to liability if your posts are found defamatory, harassing, or in violation of any other applicable law. You may also be liable if you make postings which include confidential or copyrighted information (music, videos, text, etc.) belonging to third parties.
And always remember to use your Facebook groups and privacy settings well and show the whole you and nothing but the real you in the way that you wish to be presented. It’s OK to laugh with work colleagues; it’s OK to be serious with friends. However, it’s also OK to hide (Facebook) photos that you have been tagged in from those same work colleagues or family members if that is your wish. It’s also very OK to ask for certain photos to be pulled down and removed from the sites if they are unflattering.
Remember at all times that you are in charge with your own reputation. How do you want to be remembered?
Facebook itself says its mission is “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. LinkedIn’s mission is “to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”.