4 tips for a professional social media presence

Social media is an essential communications channel, but it comes with its own set of best practices and rules of engagement. Follow these guidelines to stay cordial and professional online.

Bad manners are everywhere—and these days it seems they’re most often on display on social media.

More than the mean fake news, election tampering, newsjacking and all the other ways companies, countries, and politicians try to manipulate online, there’s also bad behavior exhibited by friends and connections.

Sure, there’s a time for photos of you enjoying a drink with friends, or a photo of the meal you just cooked, or for that gym check-in. There may even be a time to post political messages, 75 photos of your vacation, Bible verses—even information about the latest Botox special. However, that time should not be every day.

Don’t be “that” person. Consider the following tips before you post:

1. Don’t over-share.

Though you are sharing with your friends, no one wants to know the minute details of your life. Before you post something, ask yourself whether you would talk about the content of your post at a crowded cocktail party.

2. Treat LinkedIn connections carefully.

I recently received this LinkedIn connection request: “I see that your company is hiring. Let’s connect so we can talk about how I can fill this role.” I have no idea who this person is, so why would I connect only to help him get a job?

Treat invitations to connect on LinkedIn like introductions at a networking event. You wouldn’t approach a stranger at an event and open with, “Can you help me get a job at your company.” So, don’t do it on LinkedIn.

3. Have a conversation.

Have you ever worked with someone who refuses to pick up the phone, insisting that everything can be solved through email?

We all know that misunderstandings occur with electronic communication. It’s difficult to convey intent and tone through chat or email. Some situations call for human-to-human interaction, even if it can’t be face to face.

When you can, opt for a phone call. Have an actual conversation, and clear up the situation with a 10-minute discussion instead of sending 10 emails.

4. Be selfie-less.

According to a recent study, 259 people have died worldwide while taking selfies. Of the deaths, researchers found the leading cause to be drowning (being washed away by waves at the beach); followed by incidents involving transportation (standing in front of an oncoming train); and falling from heights (cliffs and mountainsides in national parks).

Other causes include animals (posing with wild animals); firearms (posing with a gun or grenade); and electrocution (touching live wires at the top of trains). The study was published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

It’s up to you to decide if the photo is worth the risk.

PR Daily readers, do you have any social media blunders to share?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor, and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

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