When it comes to social media strategy, drawing the line between professional and personal can be puzzling. That’s because the rules for navigating social media are unspoken, and vary depending on the platform and person. Luckily, there are general pointers that you can remember when you’re using LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media tools to make sure you’re not coming off as a professional creep.
As a professional, your social media strategy needs to have one baseline quality: it needs to be professional! This means that you aren’t using LinkedIn as your online dating site, or your Twitter account as your public diary. Instead, your social media strategy needs to have a clear and defined purpose.
Having a purpose before you start utilizing your social media platforms serves as a kind of direction for your behavior. Once you decide what you want from your Twitter and LinkedIn account, it’s easier to run the course of appropriate social media conduct.
Once you have your social media strategy purposed, it’s vital to clearly define for yourself the difference between professional and personal, and how each plays a role in social media. For example, LinkedIn is a strictly professional platform where it is not appropriate to get personal whereas Twitter can be professional, but with a little bit of appropriate flair.
When it comes to LinkedIn, your connections should be clear cut and work-related, end of story. You should tell your connect precisely how you can help them with their business objectives, and keep the message relevant to that. It’s okay to do your research on the person, but keep your message to them focused on the business at hand instead of how you actually know their whole life story.
There are lots of possibilities for professional connections on LinkedIn. You can make connections through current connections, former supervisors, networking events, or LinkedIn groups. If you’re wanting to connect with someone outside of these spaces without looking creepy, then craft a message that shows very clearly and professionally how you relate to the connect, and how the connection would help their business agenda.
Twitter, on the other hand, is a little different. Appearing creepy on Twitter can happen from the subject matter of your tweets. The best approach for professionals with Twitter is to treat it like a work picnic. Your tweets can be informative, news-related, enjoyable, and just a little personal. You don’t want to be the employee at the picnic who had one frozen margarita too many and is pouring their heart out to the CEO, in other words.
Consider LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media as a supplement to your resume. Your social media strategy should emphasize your resume and reputation, not detract from it. Even for professional experts, optimizing social media is a challenging task. It takes time, practice, trial, and (hopefully) minimal error.
Social media strategy is a fundamental component of success in today’s business world. Make sure you know how to use it to your advantage before you sign up.