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7 Social Media Mistakes Professionals Should Avoid

7 Social Media Mistakes Professionals Should Avoid

Do a quick search of just about anyone and you’ll be bombarded with ads for services that offer all kinds of information, including criminal records, phone numbers, and home addresses. To make matters even worse, you can search just about any social media network and have instant access to the personal views of an individual.

For a professional trying to establish their career, the internet has traps and snares all over the place. We live in a world where it is all too simple to find out what you want to about pretty much anyone.

For these reasons, among others, it is increasingly important that professionals be aware of the common mistakes made on social media to avoid while establishing their careers.

1. Personal, Non-Business Posts on LinkedIn

For anyone familiar with the very professional community of LinkedIn, this is a big no-no.

This network was created for professionals to reach out to other professionals. Posting inspirational quotes, images of your last vacation, or of that “cute cat” is super unprofessional and almost offensive.

Posting anything non-professional on LinkedIn sends off alerts in the minds of others, causing them to be wary of you and ultimately destroying trust and credibility of your professionalism.

Posting relevant items that help others understand your profession is completely acceptable and expected. You can check out this relevant post from Travis Bradberry here.

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2. Bad Spelling and/or Grammar

“trust me im profesh and ur in gud handz”
“Riiiiight.”

Regardless of the nature of any social media post, a professional who habitually posts with bad spelling and grammar conveys the message that they don’t have a good education.

In turn, this demonstrates to your target audience you’re probably not a very reliable resource. Habitually posting with improper spelling and grammar relays the message and idea that you’re a fraud.

Always double-check your posts, ensure spelling and grammar is correct.

3. Having Unclear Messaging or Objectives

As a professional, your audience expects a purpose behind everything you say.

Before you post anything, answer these questions:

  • What is the goal of this post?
  • Is it relevant to my target audience?
  • Does the wording make me look incompetent (or stupid)?

Whether it’s informational, helpful, or has a call-to-action, always have a purpose behind every post. The goal is to be in the “business” category in the minds of your audience.

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If you fail to have purpose with each post then you’ll risk falling into the “social” category. Here is a great article from Forbes about clear social media messaging.

4. Using A Social Media Account for Personal and Business

Unfortunately, the social media landscape is littered with professionals who use their social media for both business and personal reasons. Many people don’t realize how much of an adverse effect their personal views have on their audience.

Most social networks have the ability to separate personal and business profiles. This is very useful, and should be utilized.

As an example, a real estate professional using social media to engage with their market can ruin their career with one or two personal posts about politics or religion. Take advantage of the professional profiles most social networks provide. Heidi Cohen wrote a great article about social media for business versus personal.

5. Only Sharing Content From Your Website

Social media exists to help people be social. Only sharing things from your website says to the audience that your views are the only ones that matter. Recently, Google SEO updates have punished sites that publish articles with only themselves in mind. This is because the mindset of one who only shares their views is perceived as self-serving.

The more value you provide to your audience, the more valuable you become. It doesn’t matter where the value comes from. This is good news, it means you don’t have to be Superman and be the only hero.

Albert Costill of Search Engine Journal states, “You need to have a variety of content that is informative or entertaining for your audience. And the best way to do that is by sharing insightful content from authority figures.”[1]

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6. Posting Confidential Information

This one should be a given. Social media is seen by thousands and practically creates a permanent record.

A professional should be aware that your competition is watching you. For example, in my own business, I have alerts set up for anytime relevant competitors or potential partners post on social media.

Mashable.com posted a great article that includes a section with great points about confidential information. You can check that out here.

7. Making Enemies

We’ve all made a comment or two aimed at putting down one person or another, mentioned someone in a derogatory way, or minimized a set of ideologies at some point in our career.

President Trump, as well as his rival, both made comments that upset one crowd or another. The result was public backlash through social and mainstream media that impacted both campaigns.

While this kind of attention is a given for a presidential candidate, both candidates could have avoided these situations if they had been more mindful of their professional roles.

The lesson?

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Don’t put down other groups, ideas, or cultures. This demonstrates a lack of tact and discipline.

Kissmetrics.com put together a great article that discusses this here.

Conclusion

The basic rule of thumb when doing anything online is to remember that you’re a professional and to treat those you are working with as professionals. Recognize that you have value to provide and that your audience has intelligence enough to receive and understand that value.

Also, keep the message relevant. The team over at www.calvinwayman.com teaches a simple recipe they call the “4 Cs to Social Media Success”. These refer to content, context, consistency, and connection. All of these are critical for social media success.

Their blog is loaded with great information about how to manage your social media accounts. Check it out here.

Just keep in mind, if it wouldn’t provide value to you, it won’t provide value to your audience.

Featured photo credit: Rival IQ via rivaliq.com

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Herbert Timpson

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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