6 ways to balance professionalism and personality on social media

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jason Howie

By Rachel Radecki 

Are you using your social media platforms effectively? These 6 tips will help you refine your social media accounts in order to balance your online professionalism and personality. 

1. Research yourself
Do a Google search of your name to discover what kind of information is out there when future employers are checking up on your online activity. If you find something that you don’t want seen, delete it.
2. Be a part of the daily conversation
Tune into what people are talking about every day on social media, and participate in the conversation. Quality is more important that quantity, so make sure that what you’re posting is relevant and important.

With that, try to develop relationships online. Be proactive and responsive to people on social media to try and make professional connections.  
“Do lots of social listening and develop a sense of what people talk about and why,” University of Missouri School of Journalism Professor Suzette Heiman said.

3. Create your own content

Video and visuals work extremely well for Twitter and are important for engaging other people on social media. Pay attention to analytics to see what kind of content performs best on your account.

For example, if you want to go into radio journalism, create a podcast and get feedback from your followers to improve your social media presence.
4. Be consistent with your voice
Maintain the same voice and attitude across all of your different social media platforms in order to develop your own online personality.

Make sure your content is consistent with your future career goals. Curate your content to make sure it accurately reflects your voice and personality. If you want to go into sports journalism, then you should be tweeting about the latest news in sports on a consistent basis.
5. Explore all social media platforms
The best social media site for you is going to depend on your professional brand. If you want to go into graphic design or photography, take advantage of Instagram. If you are more interested in broadcast or video production, try creating a YouTube channel. Develop an expertise in the social media platform that best fits your future plans so that you’ll be ready whenever you’re applying for internships or jobs.
6. You can never fully “unpublish”
It sounds cliché, but think before you post. Never post anything in haste or in anger. You don’t want anything online that could damage your professional reputation. Always be aware of your retweets and likes as well. They can, and do, come back to haunt you.

“And yes, SnapChat can and has been “screen-grabbed” to a publisher’s detriment,” University of Missouri School of Journalism Professor Jim Flink added.

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