A couple of weeks ago, International high street giant Topshop posted an update to its company Facebook page with an apology over an offensive t-shirt that had accidentally been stocked and sold to customers. The t-shirt in question was for the band Slayer (offensive enough some may say) but featured a skull and crossbones symbol worn by SS officers during WWII. A pretty disgusting symbol to accidentally make it’s way onto clothing by anyone’s standard (or so I thought).
But something struck me about the comments – there were hundreds of girls asking where they could now buy the discontinued t-shirt as it was so fashionable, and even more complaining that it had been withdrawn from sale. It really got me thinking about young people and social media, and whether we’re truly aware of what we’re saying on it.
Social media has become massive, whether we like it or not, and it’s literally everywhere. We’re now not only interacting with friends online, but also with brands and ultimately, the whole world.
And you see, with such great power, comes great responsibility. That, speaking as an early-twenty-something graduate, is something I’m not entirely sure we’re ready for. We all know how companies make the best of themselves on social media, but how are we meant to market ourselves through it?
It’s important to only use social media for good.
Okay, so that’s a little misleading, what I really mean is using social media for your own good.
Here are my top three tips for anyone out there worried about what their social media presence might be saying about them behind their backs:
- Comment with caution – The above Topshop incident being an excellent example. If a very public debate is happening on your feed, it’s okay to just ignore it whatever your feelings towards the subject. Commenting something controversial or attempting to argue back against those commenting things you don’t agree with can attract unwanted attentions from trolls.
- Google yourself. Regularly. – It’s not as vain as it sounds. It will help protect your online presence and show you exactly what a prospective employer / date / stalker will be able to see. If it’s not how you want to be seen, or if there’s more information out there than you’re comfortable with, actively make changes to your accounts to boost privacy.
- If you wouldn’t say it to your mother, don’t say it on social media. – Not suggesting that you actually ‘test out’ all potential status updates and Tweets on your mom, but never post something without thinking. Even with privacy settings to the max, you can never be sure anything you post online isn’t going to find itself getting back to potential employers / dates / stalkers.
Help Training Courses have a range of social media training options available if you’d like to brush up your personal branding online.