Using social media to benefit you and get your professional reputation and personality into the world is beneficial. It’s free advertising and a great way to showcase products and services. I know a few people who have never advertised their business at all other than creating a Facebook page and providing an excellent service. Their reputation and Facebook page is enough to keep them in full time work, providing the service they have chosen to offer.
As it’s such a huge part of our lives now, many of us have an online personality – an archetype based on how open we are and what we think is acceptable to show to others. It’s important that your own archetype is as professional as possible, because you really don’t know who is watching your activities.
Think about how you see others in the industry through their online personality. How do you feel when people rant about other professionals? What do you think of inflammatory comments and why? You may respect someone’s work, but want to avoid meeting them at all costs because they complain a lot, appearing judgemental and petty online. Or you might be wonderfully taken by someone who is professional, kind and an excellent online communicator, a true professional. Ask yourself which you would like to be as your online following grows, then be sure that your actions reflect your answer.
If you use social media a lot, I suggest keeping your own page private and creating a second page for your professional persona. Choose your private friends carefully and network for business through your professional profile. It’s a good idea to keep them separate if possible, and be as private about your life as you can.
For any professional page attached to your product or services, I also suggest that you police it carefully and steer well clear of any debatable topics that may cause friction or arguments because they will most certainly be associated with your professional personality. People will judge you on them. I oversee a couple of big pages and swipe away any negativity as soon as it appears, because online and in the physical world a negative opinion can spread easily, and gain momentum enough to become associated with you, your brand and your professional personality.
A Facebook page is a useful tool even for the most phobic of internet newcomers, because it talks you through a few simple steps then you can simply share things, and carefully include your services and products in some of your posts. Don’t bash people to death with your name, offerings or products though, as that will put visitors off.