What you say (and share) can be held against you!
Social media is one of the best things that’s happened to communication in, well, forever. Right? But as great and all-powerful as it is, there are risks that can affect you personally and professionally.
If you’re the owner of a small business and you’re engaging via social media, you’ve likely already experienced many of the positives that this medium brings. Increased awareness of your brand, more sales, more customers and a higher level of engagement with your audience.
And while you may have a strict set of rules and standards for how your business engages online, did you ever think that your personal posts and activity could actually affect your company? The reality for many businesses and business people is all too real.
Take a look at why it’s better to err on the side of caution when you’re posting personal content:
Don’t get racy
Everyone works hard and wants to kick back and have some fun when they’re not working. But business owners who hit happy hour and post pics of themselves often find that it’s not so great for business (unless you own a bar).
Famous folks, in all realms of society, including political figures and celebrities, have made this mistake and suffered as a result. And while they often expect to be “exposed” in the public eye, it’s not something you should be risking.
As the owner of a company, whether big or small, you want to protect your reputation in your community and around the country (even the world). So it’s best to resist temptation to post anything that would give you a bad name.
No negative vibes
Just ask Paula Deen, the Savannah queen of cooking and national TV celebrity, how much of an effect a negative comment can have on one’s career. And the funny thing is, her comment was not even made on social media, but the damage came when the information went viral via social media.
The reality is, anything you say on any social media site can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and can spread like wildfire in seconds. So yes, you’re entitled to your opinion, but if you’re not careful, any comments you make, both in and out of context, can be held against you by someone else.
It can be hard to resist the temptation to get into a heated online battle with someone who’s on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Especially nowadays when there’s so much upheaval and chaos going on in the world.
But keep this in mind: no matter what you say, no matter how reasonable your argument may be, you are not going to change anyone’s mind when it comes to gun control, abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration or any other political issue.
The fact is, posting your political viewpoint on social media only accomplishes one thing: that you’re going to make some people very mad and start an ongoing argument that never gets settled. It’s a free country and you’re absolutely entitled to your position, but for your business’ sake, keep it off social media.
Hopping on the current events bandwagon
We’ve all done it. Something happens, whether it’s good or bad, and we want to talk about it online. People love to post “prayers to…” or similar comments when there’s a tragedy. There’s really nothing wrong with giving support or a shout out on your personal page, or even on your business’ if it is appropriate.
Just remember to keep it about the issue and not intertwine your business into the message. Companies that try to benefit from another’s tragedy find themselves looking shady and callous in the public eye. An example of this would be when the Gap made a tweet to Hurricane Sandy victims, suggesting they’d be shopping on gap.com because it wasn’t safe to venture outside after the storm.
The slippery slope of slander
It is a slippery slope indeed. You never know how someone else is going to react to comments you make on your own personal social media pages, even if they are your (social media) friend. If you say someone’s name, post their pic or refer to them in any way, you are opening yourself up for slander. Remember, it’s best to let your friends post their own pics and videos.
When you think about it, social media is much like having a super power: you have to use it responsibly. When it comes to your business, it’s imperative that you realize that everything you post on your personal pages can reflect on your company.
Keep these examples in mind and follow the rules of safe posting. And make sure that you have the coverage you need in the event that you find yourself in a lawsuit for something you posted online. Talk to us about policies that will protect you in these cases and keep your company from suffering financially if you’re found liable.