October 9, 2013 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
As many young professionals enter the work force, they are faced with a seemingly minor issue: how to transition their social media accounts from personal to professional. I say seemingly minor because it is likely a problem that is overlooked initially, only to be fully realized few months down the road.
With social media becoming commonplace in offices, and encouraged in many, it can be difficult to discern the appropriate steps to shifting your accounts. Let’s consider a few key points, shall we?
There are many different routes to take when it comes to transitioning your social media in a technical, physical sense. You can:
Delete current accounts all together and start fresh. This may be a good option for those who have Twitter handles that don’t exactly scream professional, think @xoMorgyBaybeee, or accounts that have a long history of inappropriate comments, nonsense posts and pictures.
Take the time to weed through accounts and get rid of any tweets or posts you wouldn’t want your boss or grandmother to see. This is a good option for someone who has established a solid amount of followers they don’t want to lose, has an appropriate handle and a decently appropriate timeline on all accounts.
Transition gradually. If you have a good handle, no posts to be ashamed of, and pictures under control (aka privacy settings to the max) begin to incorporate more professional tweets and posts into your routine. Still share your normal, more habitual posts but add in some industry related articles or thoughts about current industry trends or current events.
Create separate accounts dedicated solely to professional discussion. Use the feature on Facebook to create a new “page” for your business profile, make your personal Twitter account private and create a new professional one to be public. You may decide to do this if you simply cannot stand the idea of not being able to share your every (uncensored) thought.
After you’ve decided what to do with your current accounts, you need to focus on enhancing your personal filter.
You likely started your social media accounts to connect with friends and share thoughts, pictures, and your day to day life. Well, many millennials started our social media lives for the wrong reasons, and it has led us to become rather egocentric. You know, posting about every detail of OUR lives and OUR opinions. You see the underlying problem? It’s all about us. Well, you. You know what I mean.
So to help yourself keep a filter on your social media to remain professional:
Always ask yourself, “What is this post contributing to anyone?” Are you sharing an article your friends and followers will find interesting? A fact about an industry trend? A tasteful opinion on a current event? If yes to any of these, share away.
Remember to keep nuances and random opinions to yourself, or save them for a text message to your friends. This isn’t to say that random musings and personal events don’t have a place in your professional social media, because the most successful and popular accounts give followers insight to their lives, you just need to balance the two.
When tweeting or blogging or status updating about your personal life, it should be something that actually reveals a dimension of your life, or character, or belief system. – Jay Baer
Aim to find the happy medium between personal sharing and professional sharing, and remember to keep all personal sharing PG and appropriate. You certainly don’t want to load people’s timelines with article upon article, so be discriminant and try to share only the things you read and find interesting.
Keep in mind all the apps that you gave access permission to for your social media accounts. You don’t want to tweet every single post on your RSS feed, or Facebook every single Instagram photo or Yelp check-in.
If you are going to utilize multiple social media platforms, you should be consistent amongst all of them in order to gain more professional credibility. This means sharing similar articles and updates, or sharing your profiles on others. A few things to keep in mind:
As a professional, LinkedIn should be your foundation and connect all of your accounts. If you don’t have one, get one. And update it to the best of your ability.
Utilize each platform differently, but cohesively. Use Instagram to share your photo of the company picnic, Twitter to share its latest blog post, and LinkedIn to share job postings or upcoming events within the company.
(Note: that doesn’t mean tweet every single Facebook post, or Facebook every tweet. Share important pieces across all networks to highlight their significance)
Use niche platforms that are specific to your industry and will be useful to your audience.
Transitioning from personal to professional social media is usually on the back burner for many, but is often executed poorly when it becomes important.
We all have those posts and tweets we look back on and shake our heads (I know I have quite a few cringe worthy ones) but you can certainly make a transition and move your social media into the right direction for the future. So do yourself a favor and make yourself a game plan so you can have a seamless and successful social media transition. Good luck!
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