When it comes to social business blunders, the cliché is the widely shared photo of a clearly inebriated person, perhaps with a lampshade on his head. That's not good, for sure, but the mistakes we're talking about are more subtle and potentially more damaging to your professional reputation.
Following are five social business blunders that could cost you that new job.
1. Lacking Social Visibility
Not every job requires an active social media presence, but more and more organizations are embracing social as a way to promote their brands, advertise, sell and collaborate. Further, many traditional enterprise applications are integrating social functionality. This means that even if you are looking for a job that doesn't directly involve social (yet), potential employers may take a pass on you if they don't see any social presence or even an inactive social presence.
[ Are you using your best manners on LinkedIn? Read 8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes. ]
Establishing presence on social networks is just the first step. Once you have set down social roots on the networks that are most important to your industry (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are no-brainers, but think beyond that to platforms such as Pinterest and some of the more vertical networks) to start growing your presence. That means updating your status, sharing relevant content, responding to colleagues' (and potential colleagues') updates, and so on.
Social media is all about sharing, and it's good social business citizenry to pass along articles, videos, photos and the like that are relevant to your industry and to the people with whom you are connected on social networks. Employers will notice that you know good content when you see it, that you are able to put that content into context, and that you are willing to share that content among colleagues and business partners. You also want to make sure that you are updating your status on a regular basis. Don't let more than a couple of days go between posts (post more frequently if you are in any kind of direct communications role).
As I mentioned above, social media is all about sharing -- but there's the kind of sharing you do among business colleagues and the kind you do among your closest friends. It can be difficult to find the right balance when your social contacts are based on a mix of relationships (immediate family members, close friends, current and past professional colleagues, that kid you had a crush on in elementary school, and so on).
The best way to handle this -- especially when you are in the market for a new job -- is to err on the side of caution in terms of what you share and how often you share. Oversharing can mean literally sharing too often -- inundating connections' news feeds with updates to your each and every move. But oversharing can also be the act of providing too much information about a particular topic. When it comes to business, the worst oversharing blunder you can commit would be to post more than you should (or anything at all) about the inner workings of your company and the actions of its employees.
4. Inconsistent Social Personas
As your social presence grows across an increasing number of platforms, make sure you are presenting yourself with consistency. Potential employers will look askance at people whose job titles or job descriptions differ from one social network to the next, or even at people who present a "party-on" presence on Facebook, for example, and a buttoned-down persona on LinkedIn. If it's public, keep it purposeful and predictable.
5. Spelling and Grammar Gaffes
Even in this world of GR8, LOL and BRB, clear and correct communications matters. Ask any hiring manager, and he or she will tell you that the ability to effectively communicate is a key differentiator when assessing job candidates. This includes oral and written communications, which means that any writing you do -- including the writing you do on social networks -- is ripe for scrutiny. Of course, everyone makes an honest mistake now and then, but if your posts are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, you may be putting yourself out of the running very early in the race.
Has social made a difference in your job hunt? In your recruiting activities? Please let us know in the comments section below. Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.
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