Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

By Nicole Cavender  | @nicavender122

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In the world of public relations, social media has grown to become the most effective outlet for communication. If a company wants to promote a new item or service, they know the fastest way to relay information is through the use of social media. Employers have found that by scrolling through a prospect’s social media accounts, they can grasp an overall profile of said prospect. This rule of thumb does not only apply to the communications field, but employers do this in all fields and industries. Therefore, you must be strategic and cautious about your presence on social media despite the career you are pursuing. Finding a balance between your public and private life can be challenging, so we created a social media do’s and don’ts list for you.

DO:

  • Use correct punctuation, usage and grammar.
  • Mention the activities you are involved in on and off campus. 
  • Post photos of friends and/or colleagues that promote your social skills.
  • Promote businesses or products that you support.
  • Use hashtags that are relevant and trending.
  • Showcase projects that you created and/or assisted with. 
  • Post highlights of professional trips you ventured on.
  • Share academic information that relates to your industry.
  • Advertise an event in order to get the word out.
  • Promote awareness about a cause that you are passionate about.
  • Check for validity before retweeting or sharing on your accounts.
  • Tag appropriate accounts for increased engagement.

DON’T:

  • Post inappropriate photos with illegal drugs or any illegal activity. (If you are under the age of 21, don’t post photos of alcohol.)
  • Post photos of you making obscene gestures.
  • Overuse hashtags – 5 maximum. 
  • Use profanity excessively or at all.
  • Talk poorly about your job. You could potentially lose your job.
  • Complain about your boss or coworkers.
  • Complain constantly. This portrays a pessimistic person, and diminishes your chances of getting hired. 
  • Post while working, unless it is required for the job.
  • Cyberbullying is unacceptable, so don’t attack anyone on social media.
  • Reveal dates of a vacation. For precautionary reasons, revealing when and where you will be at any time can put yourself at risk.
  • Post ANY information you don’t want a stranger to know. Once you post, that information is out there forever. Even after you delete a post, someone may have taken a screenshot. 

Social media should never be the platform for an employee and employer to settle concerns or differences. It can easily get out of hand and backfire. An example of this, is when Talia Ben-Ora wrote an open letter to her boss, Yelp CEO and Co-Founder Jeremy Stoppelman. Ben-Ora, an employee for Yelp’s Eat24, voiced her concerns for not getting paid enough on Twitter initially, but then decided to post a nearly 2,500 word letter on Medium. Days later, Ben-Ora was released from her job at Eat24. Stoppelman responded to the accusations via Twitter: “3/5 I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me.” Moral of the story: Don’t complain about your job on social media. It can backfire. Read more about this story here.

You may think it’s a myth that employers look at your social media accounts, but we assure you it is not. If you are unsure about the content you are about to post, just ask a friend and always use discretion. Whether you are about to apply to a job or not, be sure to go through each of your accounts to filter out the bad stuff by keeping your dream job in mind. Your social media accounts should tell your unique story, so don’t let something such as profanity or obscenity be the cause of your unemployment.

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