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7 ways to manage social media to benefit, not harm, your career

Posted November 17

Careers can tank because of a negative social media presence. Employers want those with social media accounts of professional etiquette. (Deseret Photo)

The rule may not appear to apply to President-elect Donald Trump, but for many employees across America, keeping social media civil and professional can lead to success in today's digitally savvy world.

A well-managed social media presence can mean the difference between a career taking off or fluttering midair.

“Social media is your chance to create a personal message for your niche and help drive your career in the direction you want," said Christopher Ekimoff, director of forensic and litigation consulting at FTI Consulting.

Here are seven tips — one for each day of the week — to help you effectively monitor and manage your social media in a professional way to benefit your career.

1. Establish a strong, consistent voice.

Managing your social media doesn't mean you go silent on what's important to you. Let your voice be heard. Just do so in a professional and courteous manner.

The Public Relations Society of America said that by establishing your voice you allow your personality to shine through your social imprint.

This will not only help you come off as more authentic, but it will also make you seem more personable. In other words, you should be serious when you need to be, but you're allowed to have fun when you can.

2. Remove content that casts you in a bad light

Routinely go through all of your comments, pictures and posts, deleting anything that may give you a negative reputation.

You can sift through your social media content manually, or you can download apps, such as Xpire, to efficiently manage and clean up your social media accounts, according to Tech Crunch.

If you manually clean up your social media on your own, remember what you share reflects your character and becomes your brand, said Janet Johnson, a University of Texas Dallas social media professor.

“Hit delete. I mean delete is your friend,” Johnson told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth.

3. You and your employer

What you post can also be perceived as representing the views of your employer. Anything derogatory or controversial may tarnish the company's image and brand, as well.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants said employees should practice "self-policing," realizing content that may interest you personally does not mean you should share it on a professional account.

FTI Consulting's Ekimoff warned that social media “is a powerful tool, but one tweet, even when deleted, can undercut your message and credibility pretty quickly.”

The PRSA added that your employer, clients and connections all trust you to keep certain information private.

4. Make a good first impression

First impressions used to be face-to-face introductions. But in today's digital world, first impressions can come through your social media footprints, which cannot necessarily be erased later through a firm handshake.

“You should always be prepared and have a proactive approach to keeping in mind the job field is really competitive and you want to make a positive first impression whether that’s in person or online,” Chris Pilcic, a spokesperson for State Farm, told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth.

5. Watch your language

It's not just foul language on social media that can harm your career. It's also about grammar.

GovLoop, a knowledge network for government and a social network connecting over 200,000 federal, state and local government innovators, advised professionals to use correct grammar to bolster their credibility.

It may seem tedious, but it only takes a moment to re-read what you’ve written for grammar and spelling. GovLoop noted that proper use of language makes you look more professional and helps validate your opinions.

6. Update your bio

As your professional and personal life changes, make sure your profiles on various social media accounts stay relatively updated with appropriate details.

According to GovLoop, ideas to include in your bio would be a brief statement about your current job or speciality area as well as your personal interests. You can also link to other social media sites you are on or include information on how you can be reached.

GovLoop said while you shouldn't be shy about promoting yourself, remember to be brief, and target your message to those you are trying to attract.

Make sure your bios are consistent across all social media platforms.

7. Balance personal and professional

Being professional doesn't necessarily mean you have to abandon revealing your personal life on social media.

PRSA said you as an employee should take a step back and look at what you’ve been sharing with the world. Ask yourself if it’s an accurate representation of yourself and your career.

If you find it difficult to blend personal and professional interests together, it may be in your best interest to juggle multiple accounts — one for personal and another for professional.

Email: solson@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @sether00ski

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