I just read a great blog post by Sara Meany of Comet Branding, 7 Surefire Ways to Sabotage Your Professional Brand in Social Media. For the most part I think these are 7 very solid points about professional branding.
When you have a social presence out in the online stream of information, both your own personal presence as well as your company’s brand, you have a certain responsibility to think before you talk (Write, blog, email, tweet, fb, etc). If you want to keep your job, in this day of instant accessibility, or find a new one, people will find what you’ve said. Especially when people begin to associate you with your company.
I know I’m one for having a hot temper, I do things in a moment of joy, frustration, annoyance, or excitement. My boyfriend can often be heard saying, “Don’t send that,” if he hears me typing furiously. He knows something has me going and his theory is everything should be pondered for at least 24 hours before sending. (Try having an argument with him…doesn’t work, he won’t speak out of anger) However in my line of work, customer service online, I can’t wait more than 10 minutes after the contact if I want to be on my game. This conditioning is hard to break, and one wrong mouse click can cause major ripples and repercussions if you are not careful.
With the intent not to sabotage my professional, nor my personal brand, I highly recommend giving a read to Sara’s blog post. The only place where I differ in my belief of Sara’s list of ways to sabotage your professional brand, is with Number five.
“Spend company time building your personal brand online. While you may work for an employer who allows social media or even encourages it, the intent is that you will be doing it for the benefit of the organization. (Time stamps tend to expose your actions during work hours, as you post on your best friend’s pictures of her new kitten.)”
While I agree that time stamps can reveal a lot about what you are doing on line, it doesn’t always tell the real story. You can schedule tweets, and blogs to go out at anytime of the day, that doesn’t mean that’s when you are working in those mediums. I also don’t think there is always a definitive point to what you can and can’t do during “work hours.” I think it really depends on what you do for the company. As an Online Sales Consultant for a local builder and the social media person, though my paycheck, and my job says I work 8 hours a day 5 days a week… that is simply not the case.
I think many people who have the “social media” job for their company, also find themselves working outside of posted hours. And being that in online sales if you don’t reply almost instantly you have a much greater chance of losing the business, it’s even more important to be “available” all the time.
If I take a moment to read a few updates from friends, while in the process of my “8 hour work day” and then as soon as I get home at night, I’m answering emails and phone calls that are coming in outside of hours for work, (Because they always do) I really don’t think I should feel guilty that I’ve spent 5-10 minutes of my day on personal stuff.
In this day and age our personal hours and work hours are just as mingled as our personal profile and our professional profile. You need to have balance but you shouldn’t have to worry that someone is going to realize you took a moment to breath in a calming picture of a cute kitten. And that this will effect the way your work ethic is perceived.
Just remember, your are accountable for every key stroke, and they can be just as permanent as tattoos. You don’t ever want to look back, wince and say did I really do that?