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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

Reference

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Herbert Timpson

Business Owner

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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