You are Your Brand: Social Media Etiquette 101

You know it’s 2014 when you take a class called “social media management.”

In all seriousness, being a “Telecom: Media and Society” major has some awesome 21st century perks. I find it amazingly useful that my classes teach me about media laws and ethics, how much (or little) privacy we have on the Internet, how to use twitter to gain brand recognition and search engine optimization.

But I’ll never forget one thing my professor told the class about using personal social media sites: “you are your brand.” As a college student in today’s society, using social networking is a major part of getting a job, showing the world who you are and who you want to be. Social media can be a tricky thing, with many of us not knowing how personal or professional to be. Here’s five tips I’ve learned about how to manage your online persona.

Courtesy of Yahoo! News

Courtesy of Yahoo! News

1. The world can see your posts. Remember this rule- even if it’s private, it’s public. The Internet is a unique machine, allowing us to display our innermost thoughts as well as viewing the private thoughts of complete strangers. When posting a tweet, blog or Facebook status, think about how your boss would react if you said it to their face.

2. Take full advantage of the Internet. There are so many useful websites like LinkedIn, Word Press and YouTube that can get your name out there without spending any cash. You can also easily promote yourself or connect with influential people in your chosen field through sites like Twitter and Instagram. It’s crazy simple, so there’s no reason to miss out on these types of opportunities.

3. Stick to a schedule. If you’re trying to gain followers for a blog, Twitter or Instagram, it’s important to maintain a consistent schedule for posting content. If you rarely post new information, people will forget about you as fast as they found you. If you post too often, you’ll be spamming people’s feeds with unnecessary information. It’s important to find a happy medium, whether that’s posting once a day, week or month.

4. Put YOUR best foot forward. It’s important to remember that personal social media sites are supposed to show people who you are, not a fake or unrealistic version of yourself. Yes, its good to keep a clean reputation on the web, but don’t be afraid to express yourself or be original- its what social media is truly for!

5. Keep it light. Remember that social media is supposed to be a fun distraction! It’s not necessarily an outlet to argue with others, go on long political rants, or bombard people with personal critiques. If the topic is something you wouldn’t easily discuss at an dinner party or work event, take a second to consider if it’s worth putting online.

Finding the perfect balance of your own personality mixed with workplace professionalism on social media websites can be a challenge. But when used correctly, social media can open many doors (literally) for your future.