Social Media Safety Tips for Young PR Professionals

With social media being such a great outlet for people to speak their minds, it also has created an issue—what is too much to be put online? What is okay to be shared, and what should not be?  Sometimes, it is hard to determine, but it is important for students looking to enter the world of PR (or looking to become any professional, really) to understand their limits.  Within the last year, I have learned that I need to take more precautions with my social media accounts after realizing that they really are important in representing you as a brand to future employers, and that your representation online can really help or damage your chances of landing that internship/job. Here are a few social media tips I found online that can help you utilize Facebook or Twitter to give you an edge over another student.

  • Conduct a “social media sweep” every month.

Make time every month to go through and check your accounts, making sure to delete anything that does not portray you in a positive light.  Un-tag yourself from Facebook pictures that might not be too flattering, and even check what pages you are “liking.”  Other people can usually see these, too, and what you like says a lot about you.

  • Make sure your profile picture is professional.

This may seem like common sense, but your picture is the one feature anybody can see regardless of your privacy settings.  Just remember to keep it relatively classy, because your profile picture will also come up on Google when your name is searched.

  • Consider your Facebook page your live resume.

Ask yourself:  Would you print out your Facebook page and hand it to a potential employer?  Would you be proud of what you have posted?  It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to posting if you are not sure of its level of appropriateness.  Even if you delete things, it is not necessarily gone forever—Google and Facebook can keep track of what you have posted, and it is better to keep in mind that an employer will potentially be able to see anything you have posted.

  • Find an honest friend to look at your social media profiles and tell you what should be removed.

Find someone who has your best interests in mind and is willing to look through your sites for you, and ask them what are the top three pictures on your profile that should be taken down.  Once they tell you, at least seriously consider deleting them.  Same goes for posts and likes, if you are not sure.

  • Set your Facebook profile so that everything is private.

This shows that you are smart with social media, and you know how to control your own profile!

  • Don’t air frustrations and concerns for all to see.

No offense, but no one really wants to see a bunch of passive-aggressive “sub-tweets” or Facebook statuses about other people.  It damages your social media presence, and ultimately does not accomplish much.  You would be much better off by having a private conversation with the person you are having a problem with.

These are just a few tips to help you manage your online presence.  You use Facebook and Twitter everyday anyway; why not use it as tool for getting a job, too?

Written by: Allison Knouse

Allison Knouse is a rising junior Mass Communication major with a minor in journalism.  Along with being involved in PRSSA-UD, she will be the Vice President of PR for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at UD starting fall semester.

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