Influential people are watching your platforms. Your social media posts are either opening doors for you or closing them shut.
According to a 2018 CareerBuilder Survey, “70 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates…and of those that do social research, 57 percent have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.”
Your social footprint matters and even though you may not have employers screening your social media platforms at this time (that you know of), you do have influencers “checking you out” to see if you are someone that they would like to partner with. Your posts on social media can open doors of opportunity for you or close them shut. Opportunities including the Director who wants to hire you to speak at their event, the CEO who wants you to come in and share your expertise with their organization, the business owner who wants you to guest post on their blog or interview you for their podcast, or how about the literary agent that’s looking to partner with you for your first or 10th book.
Here are some of the most common social media mistakes that are causing far too many to miss out on opportunities that could have been theirs, had they been more discerning with their posts and comments online:
Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, and information: According to the 2018 CareerBuilder Survey, 40% of those surveyed said they found something inappropriate that caused them not to hire a candidate. As much as we would like to believe that our platforms are private, the reality is that they are not. And as much as we would like to think that our personal profiles should not intervene with our business life, the hard-core truth is that they do. Your goal with your social media profiles is to make an excellent first impression. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, but only one bad one to lose it.”
Taking part in online conflicts: Here are some questions to ask yourself: Is this really going to matter in the long run? Is it that important to get your point across or to have the last word? Does the online world really need to see and read this? Is this conflict worth me losing an opportunity? Or even worse, is this conflict really moving people towards me or is it causing people to cringe when they read it? Social media is not the place for disputes. All it does is make you look bad. Avoid them at all costs.
Trying to separate your personal and professional life: We would like to believe that we can separate our personal and professional lives online, but it’s not possible. Everything you do and say reflects who you are as an individual and who you are as a professional, a leader. What you do daily gives insight into who you are. What you post provides insight into how you will communicate with others. Don’t fall for the lie that these two areas can be separated; they just can’t.
Complaining about others: Unfortunately, this is becoming the norm; I see it every day. And what most don’t realize is that it’s closing doors for them regularly. The investor for your startup may have been interested in you and learning more about you, but as soon as you posted that negative, whiny complaint about someone else (professor, leader, supervisor, client, etc.), that door immediately shut. And then you’re left wondering why doors keep closing for you.
Insulting Others: Your posts should not destroy people. One of the most essential skills to have on social media is the ability to “talk” with others who disagree with you. Please, don’t name call or insult others. Remember, you don’t have to attend every discussion that takes place online. You are different. You are the one who takes the higher road.
Being Pushy: Want to lose the interest of people really quick? Post on their Facebook wall about your upcoming event, product, service, webinar, etc. Also, don’t send direct messages to people you have never engaged with or have hardly engaged with, telling them about your business, your opportunity. This will get you ignored and put a sour taste about you and your business in their mind.
There are so many opportunities that are available to you and people are watching to see if you are a good fit for what they are looking for.
As I write this, I’m reminded of a message I received one day from someone who eventually became a client of mine. Her email said:
“I just want you to know that over the past weekend, I realized how much you have taught me over the last few years. That’s all been by watching you online, and I am truly inspired and ‘want to be you when I grow up!’”
This client, who I now consider a friend, was watching me from afar for years before she ever decided to do “business” with me. She was watching what I wrote, what I shared and how I responded to comments. And after a few years of doing this, she decided to move forward with what I offered.
And this isn’t the only example. I can’t tell you how many times people have sent me a message stating that they have been “watching for years.”
Remember, people are watching you too. They are checking to see if you are worth following. And if you win their trust, they could become the missing piece of the puzzle that you’ve been looking for.