In social media, one wrong click of a button can have potentially career-damaging consequences.
Let me share a story that Bill, a colleague of mine, told me. He was very excited to be venturing into LinkedIn for the first time. Sure, he had a profile, but that was it. Now, he wanted to start reading posts, commenting on feeds and increasing his network. Bill was checking his network feed, and reading articles that his associates and clients had posted. One post was about how to cope with really horrible bosses. Without giving his action much thought, Bill “liked” the post.
Harmless, right? After all, that’s how you engage on social media, by liking commentary and following others, right?
Imagine Bill’s shock when a few days later his boss called him into his office. His manager had also seen the post -- and that Bill had liked it! His manager assumed that meant Bill thought he was a difficult boss and could relate! Oops.
My hapless colleague was blindsided to the point of stuttering, as Bill told me that he explained to his manager that he didn’t even remember liking the post and certainly was not making a comment about him.
Lesson learned the hard way!
I would hate to have one little click or off-the-cuff opinion posted on a social media site mess up my reputation or my relationship with a client or co-worker. Wouldn’t you? We’ve all worked too hard to get where we are. Yet, social media faux pas happen, every day. Don’t let it happen to you!
Remember, your profiles, posts, comments, likes, tweets, and retweets are PUBLIC. You never know if your manager or CEO or clients may be reading what you’re writing or liking. Here are my 3 reminders on how to play it smart with social media communications:
- Post content you’d feel good about anyone reading. Yes, you are entitled to your opinions, but if you insist on sharing unpopular or controversial ones, watch out for the fallout.
- Never engage in gossip or rumor online or share what others have posted — especially about your company, colleagues, competitors or clients. This is worse than water-cooler gossip.
- Avoid hotbed topics like politics, race-related commentary, abortion, and gun control. The weather? Sports? Perfect!
It’s time to share! Do you have another business horror story for us to weigh in on, let us know! We’ll examine it – anonymously of course – and share best practices.