LinkedIn is the ‘professional’ social network where you connect with colleagues, business acquaintances, former classmates and co-workers. There is a certain tone that is expected on LinkedIn. If I had seen this post on Twitter or Facebook, I may have winced, but otherwise would not have thought twice about it. Seeing it on LinkedIn however, I was rather taken aback.
This got me thinking about social media and the different personas that we adopt when using other platforms to present ourselves in the best way and the different content that we post on various networks, and indeed how businesses can consider this as well.
This is not the first instance of seeing posts on LinkedIn that would be better suited to another social platform. Inappropriate profile pictures are rife: alcoholic beverages in hand, photos obviously taken on a night out, girls pouting with their cleavage out, men brooding in vest tops.
Your employers and potential employers will be looking at your LinkedIn profile and people often judge based on appearance, so you need to present yourself in a professional manner, even in your profile picture.
These days, most people have their profile more than one social media platform. In fact, research from 2014 found that more than 42% of adults use more than one social media sites. This is likely to be because different sites serve slightly different purposes.
It should go without saying that LinkedIn is where you should present the best, most professional version of yourself. Connecting and sharing information with your colleagues, bosses and potential future employers means that you should avoid anything that may cause offense or portray you in a bad light. That means don’t be rude, racist, sexist – even if it’s a joke that may seem ok to post on Facebook; that’s a social network with your friends, so it’s different.
LinkedIn is a place to demonstrate knowledge of your industry and show what a great employee you are – humble bragging is wholly encouraged as you are essentially advertising yourself as a valuable asset to your company. Use the new(ish) LinkedIn Pulse to publish your own insightful articles, you can even re-use articles you have written on your work or personal blog. Just bear in mind what you’re sharing – is it suitable and relevant to your professional network? If you work in accounting technology but keep a makeup blog in your spare time, LinkedIn Pulse is probably not the place to share your latest contouring tutorial.
Equally, when you’re representing your company and using your business page to promote your brand of product, don’t bombard the news feed with endless sales messages. And don’t make your company page just like a resume, as marketing expert Jeff Bullas advises – write a compelling summary and add your products and services with jobs and career info and connect with your employees. But don’t just post about your office goings-on and own work all the time: LinkedIn is a forum for industry discussion and nobody likes someone who talks about themselves all the time.
Facebook is one of the most popular social networks with around 1.65 billion monthly active users, and is most commonly used to share photos and information with close friends. Many people choose to have their profiles as private and ‘friend requests’ and a newsfeed with a specific algorithm means that you only see posts from friends, brands or businesses you choose to, making it the most personal social media.
Facebook tends to be where people make big announcements, from passing their driving test to expecting a baby. It’s used for sharing amusing anecdotes and holiday photos and inviting people to events and parties. Just don’t add drunk or embarrassing photos that you may regret and don’t add your boss, especially if you tend to share personal content and if your settings aren’t set to ‘Friends only’ privacy!
Although Facebook use is declining among younger users, it has become a popular way to find out news and to share amusing videos. Companies such as LADBible and The Dodo rely heavily on users sharing their content on Facebook.
In business, Facebook is one of the more commercial social networks, so it’s an opportunity to keeps things light and entertaining – even for B2B brands. Facebook ads are also a great way to boost traffic and generate leads.
Twitter has become a popular platform for voicing your opinion to a wider audience and connecting with brands and even celebrities. Twitter is much more open than Facebook, so things shared on here tend to be less personal.
Twitter by its nature is fast, short and digestible: just 140 characters on a chronological real-time timeline. People tend to share images, GIFs, polls, headlines with links to news and blogs and even short videos. The hash sign has is now synonymous with hashtags rather than indicating a number as it used to a decade ago. It helps you to join in a discussion, which has lead Twitter to become something of an open forum.
The presence of brands also makes it a popular marketing tool for marketers, both B2C and B2B. They can join in discussions or jump on hashtags, but beware of using a hashtag that tenuously links to your business offering as it is transparent. Some companies now even have a dedicated customer support Twitter account as so many people now turn to Twitter to voice their complaints or praise about a brand or product.
The openness and accessibility of Twitter is one of the things that makes it great, but it also means you need to proceed with caution. Beware of trolls (and don’t become one yourself). If you’re joining in a discussion with someone you don’t know, try not to offend anyone.
Instagram was THE social media platform of 2016. Full of filters, seflies and more pictures of food than you’ve had hot dinners. I heard on the radio that a girl’s new year’s resolution for 2017 was to only post one selfie a week. Instagram has turned people into narcissists, addicted to the likes and comments they get from their selfies. Yes, Instagram is the best platform for sharing your selfies but Avoid over-doing it unless you want to look narcissistic too.
Instagram is also becoming more and more sexually explicit: beauty and fitness photos have become increasingly explicit to sometimes verging on the brink of pornographic. Men in the gym want to show off their torsos and cut with the pants swung so low and girls show off their pert posteriors in bikini bottoms on the beach. If you’ve got it, flaunt it; but just don’t do it to the point where you’ll make people think, “Put it away!”
Businesses are beginning to get the hand of Instagram, especially now that adverts are incorporated in the feed. It can be hard for B2B businesses, especially those that offer services or software rather than physical, tangible products. But there are ways to get creative and show your brand’s personality: take pictures of what happens in the office and behind the scenes, share screengrabs or videos of reports or the software in action. Just use your imagination!
So heed the warnings… think before you post and consider whom you are sharing your posts with before you click publish on social media.