I told a new client he needed to post a photo on his LinkedIn account. He promptly followed my suggestion and sent me an email to check it out. I quickly checked it out…it was a shirtless photo on a boat. I called him and explained that LinkedIn was a professional business site, not his personal FaceBook page or a dating site. He laughed said I was funny and quickly changed the photo to one with a shirt and tie. The point is, with the advent of social media the lines between our professional life and our personal life get blurrier every day, so we need to think about what we are posted and were we are posting it.
When I interview anyone for any position in my company, the first thing I do is check out what they have posted on FaceBook, Instagram, Tweeter and LinkedIn. When I am meeting a perspective client I do the same. When I meet with just about anyone I check their social media footprint because I want to know who I am dealing with; a goofball who makes bad choices on the weekends and posts it, or a professional who understands the importance of their personal brand in the marketplace.
I can tell you that I have passed on potential employees that looked awesome on paper, potential clients, potential referral partners who appeared to make sense all because of what they chose to post on social media. I quite simply did not want to be associated with individuals who didn’t have better sense than to post themselves blotto on the weekends, posting pictures of themselves with strippers, wearing next to nothing, etc. If you want to do those things fine, but do NOT post pictures for all the business world to see.
The rule used to be “do not confuse your personal accounts with your professional accounts, as it can cost you dearly.” The new rule is there is no such thing as a personal account. Everyone checks all accounts and you must assume that anything you post will be seen by your co-workers, your boss, futures bosses, business partners, etc. So be smart. Post funny, post heart warming, post witty, post thought provoking, post family, post friends, etc. But please, don’t post stupid.