The buzz has long been to get your business up and running on whatever form of social media you like. It’s an industry expectation that you have a Facebook profile for your business, it’s seen as an important way to get in touch with your consumers and business partners for free and as the perfect way for them to get in touch with you too.
If they have any complaints or feedback they know exactly where to find you and can tell you publicly where they feel things are going wrong. Bad thing you might think but no, gentle reader, this is a good thing. Provided you’re not riding high on a PR disaster then the comments and complaints can be put to your advantage; some-one’s got a niggle, sort it out. Tell them publicly that you’ve taken their complaint on board, that you’ve dealt with it and you can’t wait for them to visit your store, coffee shop, hotel, whatever, to see how well you’ve improved since their last visit. Problem turned Positive.
What you should never do is get into an online fight with them, do that and you’ll be creating that PR disaster for yourself. If their complaint is spurious don’t ignore it, tell them that you recognize that it could be a problem for some but that resolving it would cause more problems down the line or some such media-speak for ‘nevergonnahappen’.
That’s fine for businesses and corporate but what about the individual? How can you make Facebook work for you when you’re trying to market yourself?
Depending on where you live there are often rules about what a potential or present employer can and can’t do with regard to data that you‘ve put on Facebook, MySpace or any other social media platform. In many cases they can’t vet your application on the strength of your online profile. Of course that’s not to say that they won‘t take it into consideration when reviewing your application. If you’re currently employed your bosses aren’t supposed to monitor your out of hours internet behavior. That doesn’t mean they won’t, they just won’t be as blatant as Commonwealth Bank’s policy of requiring all staff to report their online friends if they say anything bad about the bank or face discipline themselves. Draconian? Maybe, PR catastrophe? Absolutely.
Just because they’re not supposed to do these things doesn‘t mean that they won’t, they just won‘t tell you that they did. You did put it online after all.
If you’re applying for jobs or schools make sure your networked profile is as shiny as you want to appear to your prospective employers or educators. It’s not necessary to purge all traces of your extra curricular activities from your page, it is supposed to reflect what you’re like after all but be judicious. It might be a good idea to un-friend or at least turning down people who revel in posting inappropriate content to their friends.
Make sure that comments you make on other people’s pages are discrete and inoffensive. Don’t post your status as “throwing a sicky” or “Too drunk last night, can’t remember what happened! Little help any-one?!” on a weekday morning. Again, an employer can’t accept or reject your application based upon this kind of information but it can all help to build a profile of the kind of character you are.
Make your profile public, show that you have nothing to hide and so long as you’ve tidied it up enough it should work in your favor. You might even try posting info about the voluntary work you do (or intend to start doing soon…). If you’re applying for schools, put some of your academic work up to let your future teachers see. Not too much though, it’s public after all and people might rip it off.
When you’re in the process of expunging your profile keep this mantra in mind, “what would your mom or kid sister say if they could see this?” as you untag yourself from some very interesting photos of that Friday night, you know, THAT Friday night…