Social Media: Your Reputation on Steroids

Posted on June 6, 2011. Filed under: Crisis Management, Marketing, Reputation Management, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I was so dismayed tonight – but not surprised — to hear New York U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner’s press conference awhile ago coming clean about his posting of improper photos to various women on social media.

I really don’t want to talk about him. But the whole disgusting affair makes me want to share my thoughts with you about the importance of protecting your good reputation online.Keep your rep angelic

Now consider that my background is in public relations. I’ve spent my career counseling clients about how to communicate their value while maintaining their dignity and credibility. I’ve spent countless hours going over copy, press releases, speeches and other materials to be sure that the chosen words are in keeping with the client’s values and that there’s nothing that could be misinterpreted in a way that would cast doubt on the client’s reputation.

Let’s shift to the online world where we tend to dash off emails and texts and blog posts and where we feel more relaxed than in the more formal communications of yesteryear. Beware. It only takes one off-message tweet or blog post to cast doubt on your positioning, message or culture. Those messages last forever online.

Be in the moment but don’t be impulsive. Take a minute or two to re-read what you’re about to send out to the universe. And listen to your gut. If anything gives you a little raising of the hackles on the back of your neck – EDIT!! Make sure that everything you write is in keeping with your mission, with your audiences’ expectations and your own self respect.

You know, when I am deciding whether to follow someone on Twitter, I go to their profile and read about a dozen recent tweets to see if they have anything to contribute to me and my Twitter stream. Recently I performed that ritual when a new local brand selling a family and environmentally-friendly product followed me.

I scrolled through their previous day’s tweets and found that they re-tweeted a tweet that included a profanity. That tweet communicated bad judgment and lack of sophistication in their marketing. It really turned me off.

But social media marketer that I am, I felt compelled to share a bit of well-meant advice. I sent a direct (private) message that said: Thnx for following. Congrats! Friendly tip…Keep curse words out of your tweets and RTs. It’s counter to your brand image.

I haven’t had a response, but hope they took it in the positive spirit that was meant. My message to you is to make sure to protect your reputation online with every tweet, update and post. We can be open, authentic, and personal. But it’s crucial that we understand where to draw the line online. If you put it out there, it’s out there forever. Make it worthy, make it valuable and do your best to share your finest attributes.

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