You already know you should maintain non-incriminating social media accounts, especially when applying to jobs. Many of us have had a neighbor or an ex-girlfriend tag us in a spring break photo from junior year in college. It happens and you most likely do your best to keep those photos hidden from your boss or future employers. If you don’t already take social media reputation management into consideration, get on it.

These days, almost everyone has some form of social media from our grandparents to our nieces and nephews. Keeping a healthy social media image is almost a no-brainer. However, what constitutes as a healthy social media image? Many people think that as long as they’re not doing anything illegal, promiscuous, or overly celebratory such as intense partying, they’re in the clear. That might not necessarily be true. Here are some modern tips on social media reputation management.

People can judge you, including employers

Social media primarily existed for sharing photos and statuses. However, it’s branched into news platforms, political views, business profiles, modeling portfolios, and much more. At this point, social media can contain almost anything as long as you adhere to the platform’s rules. This can make it easy for people to judge you and necessary for further social media reputation management.

Let’s say you want to change jobs and you recently lined up an interview. You’ve also been taking the stress and frustration from your current job out in the gym and are proud to have finally gotten the summer body you’ve always wanted. You take some photos at the pool, nothing crazy, and post them on your public account. The photos are not risqué and you’re proud of all the work you did, so what’s the harm in posting? However, the employer sees the photos and feels that you aren’t conservative enough to work at the company. They assume that you wouldn’t be the right fit at the company since the majority of their current employees don’t post photos at pools. 

Although many employers may not act like this, it’s entirely possible. And it’s something you should be aware of. Just because you feel your social media image is clean, others may not.

line of people checking their social media management reputation

Political views can get heated

woman on computer upset by someone's comments on social media

More and more, social media acts as a voice for sharing political views. And we don’t have to tell you that political disagreements can get heated. Again, even if you believe you have a clean image, someone who simply disagrees with you can have a huge impact.

For example, a candidate uses Facebook to share his or her political views. They make sure they are completely respectful of others’ views and have mature and polite discussions with other users. However, an employer sees these discussions. Not only are they of an opposing side but the mass majority of their organization is also of an opposing side. They feel that you would not be a good fit because they feel your views, although respectful, are dangerous to the country.

Furthermore, employers are not the only ones you should worry about. A current employee also used their Facebook to respectfully leave a political comment on news articles. A random user saw these comments, wholeheartedly disagreed with them, and wanted to sabotage the employee. They then took note of the employer listed on the Facebook profile, found the company’s Facebook page, and embellished the employee’s views and comments to make them look inappropriate. The entire company saw the employee’s name.

The reality of social media

These situations have actually happened and continue to do so. It can give some employers fuel to be extra picky and even discriminate. In addition, other users can use your views or information to sabotage you. Although hopefully many of these cases don’t happen to you, don’t assume they won’t. So instead of just checking to see if your social media image is clean, question whether or not people can use what you post against you. If you feel that people might wrongly judge you or get offended at what you post, you might want to consider locking down your social media.

Social media privacy

Many social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok can be set to private so only people you allow to see your posts can. If you don’t feel comfortable with strangers viewing your content and making assumptions, consider making your profiles private.

Even if your personal accounts are set to private, an employer can still see some information, like your profile picture. Therefore, you will want to ensure that your profile picture is a professional-looking photo and any visible information is up-to-date and accurate. Moreover, some people might request to follow you just to see your content. Consider keeping tabs on who exactly requests access to your accounts.

Make professional accounts

That being said, your social media accounts can be used to your advantage. Your employer can see how you interact online, which is important in an increasingly Internet-centered world. Posting and interacting positively online is the best way to clean up your social media image. If you’re concerned about people judging you politically and don’t want employers to see that content, keep it neutral.

Your LinkedIn account is a different story. LinkedIn is generally much more professional than most personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. Building up your LinkedIn account carefully can be hugely beneficial to your job search and networking opportunities. The most important facet of having a good image on LinkedIn is to update it frequently.

At IT Resources, we focus on information technology professionals. We can help with social media reputation management among many other job factors. We work hard to place professionals with top companies nationwide. Our career counselors give your personal attention throughout your job search; you are never just a number to us. Contact us to get started today or visit our open positions to view our current openings.