The Internet has now been around long enough that former teenagers who are in the job market are sometimes seeing the affects that poor choices made in the past can wreak on the present. Teachers, lawyers, politicians are also not immune to the far reaching implications of having made poor choices publically can have on them. As a small business owner, you’re in the same boat. It’s important to use social media carefully to enhance your business reputation.
Not Keeping Personal & Business Separate
This is getting more difficult as the days of being anonymous on the net are over. Today, everyone is known via Google, and you have to sign in via Google or Facebook or other methods thereby verifying your identity in order to participate in online discussions. But, it’s important that you keep your personal life and business life as separate as possible. If you use the Internet to market your business, you’re probably going to have to limit your online personal life to a select group of people as well as a select social network such as Facebook.
Over sharing on Social Media
Everyone doesn’t need to know every detail about your life. Is it really smart to share pictures of yourself in your underwear, even to your husband or boyfriend? You never know when you will get hacked and that private information is out there for the world to see. In addition, while you want to be a real person to your audience they really don’t need to know the intimate details of your menstrual cycle or hormone fluctuations or bathroom habits of your children. Naturally, this depends on your niche, but for the most part, don’t over share, it’s not attractive.
Not Being Consistent
One way to manage your online reputation is to keep your brand consistent across all accounts. Use similar or the same headshots, use the same logos, and banners, the same colors and the same information about yourself and your business. By inadvertently leaving something out you might accidentally confuse someone or make them think you’re being less than honest. Even if it’s an accident, you don’t know how others will view it. Double check to make sure that everything you say and do backs up who you want to represent yourself as online.
Not Researching Yourself
You can use a variety of tools for monitoring your online reputation such as Google Alerts, TweetBeep, and others will help you manage your online presence so that you are the one dictating what people know rather than others dictating it for you. You can find out what’s being said about your brand, your name, and your products or even similar products and services so that you can stay ahead of the buzz and even create the buzz.
Not Updating Privacy Settings
Most social media accounts offer some privacy options. A great way to manage your privacy on Facebook is to set up a closed and private group for your friends and family that you trust so that nothing can be searched or discovered that is personal or embarrassing. Facebook also offers other privacy options like the ability to approve images you’re tagged in. Use these options to get the most out of social media and protect yourself and your business from misunderstandings.
Every day there is something in the news about someone who said something taken out of context or said in jest that gets someone into a lot of trouble to where they lose jobs, clients, and even an entire business. Don’t become a statistic.