This article was originally shared on Business2Community
Social media, great huh? Businesses and people alike use it for a multitude of reasons, whether that’s generating new business, making friends or establishing a reputation based on transparency, dedication and good old fashioned know-how (otherwise referred to as content).
However, social media is a big and scary place (it’s been predicted that by 2016, Facebook will be the largest country on earth), and if you’re ever going to get yourself or your business the kudos it deserves, then there are a few things that you really should keep to yourself.
Here’s 5 of those things that you shouldn’t share on social media:
- Cringeworthy photos. Fancy being a thought-leader? and I don’t mean one of those self-titled ones… Then remember, photos aren’t always for sharing. If you were recently caught on camera hugging a lampost or a toilet, your potential clients and new bosses do not need to see that. Remember, a picture says a thousand words, and a picture of you sat on the toilet, or eyebrows shaved and whipped cream everywhere certainly does say a lot. And that isn’t a good thing.
- Your personal phone number: Give out your business line, your email address, but your personal mobile phone number? Hell no. Save that for friends and relatives. Remember, the internet is a scary place, full of stalkers, and even worse… salespeople. Don’t leave your Facebook page open to spammers and cold callers worldwide.
- Your second by second location. Combined with updating the entire internet on all your latest and greatest purchases, you are setting yourself up to lose. Big time. Your 32,000 or 421 followers on Twitter don’t need to know your whereabouts at all times. It’d be easier to post a photo of yourself with a sign saying ‘rob me please’ and a list of your valuables and address underneath.
- Bank and credit card details. Please, I beg of you, don’t share a photograph of your chic black credit card, or the one covered in puppies, however much you like it, it just isn’t a smart move. You are leaving yourself open to identity theft, and good old fashioned robbery. With identity theft figures standing at 4 million a year for the UK alone, it’s safe to say that sharing photos of your bank card is like giving a dog a bone.
- Naked selfies. Nuff said.
Still reading? Phew. Fingers crossed that you haven’t been doing the epic errors mentioned above, but if you have, now’s the time for a rethink.
And if your approach to social media has been to give it to the intern, then all of that is about to change.
5 things you should do instead
- Create strong social profiles. Fancy yourself as a business leader of the future? Well work on your online reputation. Establish yourself in the best places, and make sure your profile is top notch. That means, no photos taken whilst out at a bar, fill in every section and really make the most out of the amazing opportunities that can be found through LinkedIn and Twitter. With 50% of people finding a job through networking and personal connections, it’s easy to see the opportunities that are out there on the social web.
- Use content to create new business. They say content is king, and whilst I may not agree with that… ( read what i think about the new King of the digital waves, Lifecycle Marketing) I do believe that content should be an essential part of every marketer and businesses social media plan. With B2B companies that blog generating 67% more leads per month than those who do not, it’s clear: content is big.
- Engage with your prospects and current customers. So your audience hangs out on Twitter? Go meet them there. Or would LinkedIn groups work better for you? Whatever your audience, you can find them online, and by doing your research, you can effectively target where you spend your time online and improve your chances of generating new business leads. The first step for this is understanding your client personas, no idea what I mean? Read more about personas here.
- Check out your competitors. What are they doing? Whether you’re thinking about yourself or your business, it will benefit you to see exactly what your competitors are doing and where.
- Develop a strategy. Failing to plan, is planning to fail and without knowing your end goals, how are you ever going to get there? Whether you are aiming to promote yourself or your business, it’s important to ask yourself what you’d like to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. Put together a plan and use it.
Now remember, it’s a big world out there on the social web and once it’s online, there’s no stopping it. Look at Beyonce, her publicist supposedly fought to get those unflattering Super Bowl photos removed from the web, but they went viral. In fact, who hasn’t seen them? If you haven’t, here’s a link…
My point is this, once it’s out there, it’s out there and it’s pretty much impossible to take it back. So think wisely, how much do you value your reputation, business or personal? With social media accounting for 27% of time spent online, the potential for you and your business is endless. So be smart and avoid those common pitfalls, like sharing naked photos with the world wide web.
Remember, this is just a glimpse of the potential that social media offers for you and your business. In fact, what I’ve covered is just the tip of the iceberg, discover more with this eGuide: 10 Facebook for Business Best Practices.