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Don’t be so naïve to think your online personal brand and reputation isn’t being counted or be considered by your current or future employers – because it is.

I recently did an interview for an online magazine on this topic with young 18-25 Gen Ys in mind. Now, this is not a topic area I would normally consult on, however, the more I thought about it, the core principles of reputation building became important foundations for establishing a strong personal brand online. Things like integrity, transparency, humility, accountability, and perspective are important guiding principles for building and managing reputation – so why wouldn’t they apply to social media?

I think these days, some people don’t even consider that posting crude, racist, vulgar or partially nude pics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and god knows where else, can have an effect on how they are perceived personally, by not only friends and family, but also employees, colleagues, and future employers.

What is also not often considered by the poster is the impact of their posts and their accountability, which can be beyond disastrous and potentially involve legal action at worst.

I had a client recently experience this first hand with an employee posting derogatory and racist comments on her personal Facebook profile, however, as she was the face of this particular clients website home page, the Facebook posts were linked to the business by an anti-racist lobby group, so of course you can imagine the media storm that followed!

Social media channels have been used by recruiters and HR teams for years to gather intel on current or prospective employees. Whether it’s right or wrong to do so is still for debate. But in its simplicity, information and personal posts online are open for the public to see in any form, so why wouldn’t you search a prospect to see what they are really like? Of course, it would be wise to do your research on a purchase or contract before you signed the dotted line right? Well, this is the current research environment.

And it’s not restricted to just young social media-ites. Professionals of all ages have come under similar scrutiny by employers in recent times.

Recently, at a social media strategy course, I heard the example of a senior executive having applied for a similar position, but being denied progress in the recruitment process because his ‘Klout’ rating was not high enough, suggesting his online influence was not good enough to grant him the position. Harsh? I think so.

At the core of this, and where the real danger exists, is in the posts itself. One must remember that the web is worldwide and open. It is not limited to the hundred or so friends you are posting to. Social media bypasses the normal content checks, body language, and tone of voice that you would naturally consider if you were making a statement out loud. So it is important to consider this: use good judgment and remember that the world-wide-web is literally that – where information travels freely with speed and can hang around for a very long time. Remember the principles of reputation management above and use them as checks.

The number one rule is simple – unless you want millions of perfect strangers to know what you’re posting, don’t post it.

Happy Marketing! - S

Reposted from FirstDegreePR - www.firstdegreepr.com.au

Tagged branding, Business, corporate reputation, online brand, personal brand, reputation, social media, social media marketing, Klout rating