Social media is everywhere. It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ – if you want to stay on top of your administrative professional game, it’s an absolute necessity. However, this necessity comes with some rules. It’s not a lawless land; instead, you must navigate the social media waters with competency, decorum, and an understanding of what “being social” really means.
Corresponding on social media platforms is a bit different than communicating in person, or even by phone or email. Do it well, and you’ll reap the rewards. Do it poorly, and the consequences can be dire.
The following are some tips on how to ensure that you’re at the top of your social media game – from a personal and a professional standpoint.
1. Ask, Don’t Assume
You may be a social media maven, understand the lingo, and use every platform to perfection on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean that your executive or colleagues feel the same way. While plenty of people are embracing the social media movement, there are still some holdouts.
Respect the fact that not everyone wants to connect or friend people they work with. Likewise, you may not feel comfortable accepting connection requests from colleagues. It’s a good idea to have your own “friending” policy, and respect the policies others have in place.
Ask your co-workers and executive how they prefer to communicate. Sending them a Facebook message about a pressing problem at work won’t benefit you if they don’t regularly check the platform, or would prefer an email, call, or text.
Once you know which communication method they prefer, you can adapt your professional strategy to suit the rest of your team.
2. Be Aware
Everything you post on social media has an impact, although it might not always come in the form of likes, favorites, or retweets. Fair or unfair, you are being judged on the things you post, the way you respond to others, and how you use the platforms in general.
Be aware that your posts and interactions don’t only represent you. They also represent your executive, co-workers, and company – not to mention your family and friends. Always think before you post. When in doubt – don’t!
3. Understand Potential Legal Ramifications
We’ve all heard a story about someone being fired for a Facebook post or Twitter tweet. People who use the platforms to complain about their company, managers, or pay rarely fare well in the corporate world.
However, it’s just as easy to accidentally share company secrets without realizing it. The picture you take of your co-worker’s birthday celebration in the break room probably seems innocent enough…until you realize that the picture also shows a whiteboard in the background covered with sales numbers or a top-secret marketing strategy that’s now on the internet for everyone to see!
And it might not just be your job that’s at stake. Depending on your company’s policy and the severity of the inadvertent breach, you may actually face legal problems if your post caused damages, financial or otherwise.
4. Utilize Security Settings
Although social media is a great tool for you as an administrative professional, it’s also a fun way to connect with friends and family. However, too often, that line gets blurred and broken.
Sure, you want to share photos of your night on the town, or a recent beach party – but how would you feel if your executive saw those pictures? This is why security settings play such an important role in your social media acumen.
I advise you to create groups or lists on each platform. You may have one for close friends and family members, another for acquaintances, and a third for clients, co-workers, and superiors. This way, you’re free to post personal updates and pictures to one group without having to worry about being the talk of the water cooler on Monday morning.
Security settings should be reviewed regularly. However, they are far from infallible. Always assume that everything you post is public, even if it isn’t! Truly offensive, inappropriate, or questionable material has no place on social media.
5. Manage Your Time Wisely
It’s no secret that social media can be a huge time drain, hurting your productivity both on the job and off. I encourage you to use tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, which allow you to see all of your social media platforms at a glance, rather than logging in and out of each one every time.
Lists and groups are also fantastic ways to manage the time you spend on social media. When you group together all of the professional pages you follow, it’s easy to see only what you need to see at that moment, without being distracted by personal posts (or cute pictures of kittens).
The Bottom Line
Social media is a must for your career, but you absolutely must use it wisely. There is no guarantee that anything you post online will ever truly disappear, so be absolutely certain that it is fit for public consumption before you hit post, send, or tweet!
© 2018 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.