Social Media Basics: The Do’s…..and Don’ts

As a Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations, I hear constantly in class ‘the way you present yourself online is as important as a good resume.’

Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. show the public your personal brand. You’re constantly building your brand up and it really matters as you get into seriously looking for a job.

Amanda Clay Powers, the Coordinator of Research Services and Social Media Research Librarian at Mississippi State University, shared much-needed insight on how to properly use social media. Sounds simple, right?

There’s more to it than you think, actually. She taught us the importance of being educated on how to use social media to your advantage. Whether your major is Public relations or Chemical Engineering; it’s becoming a skill everyone needs to be aware of in any field of work.

Starting off with some numbers: “93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s online social profile”. Yeah, that’s almost 100% – these numbers are continuously growing each year!

Here are 6 basic tips that will help shape your professional image 😉

1 – Hey, it’s 2015

When I created my first email address in 2000, it was probably something like or something along those lines. Well, just like we went away with the blue eye shadow, it’s time to trash that silly account you created for your MySpace. It can be embarrassing so go ahead and create your simplified, professional email address, or even easier, for now use your school email address!

Also, with mentioning the email address let us not forget the pictures of our awkward eighth grade phase. Oh gosh, mine are bad. Well, luckily we can hide things like that without deleting them. Controlling your privacy settings is a great tool Facebook has given us. These are simple housekeeping tips to save us from the embarrassment of our younger selves.

2 – Don’t @#%&*!$ Cuss!

Plain and simple. It doesn’t show intelligence or help get your point across, but I know we all have our moments. Future employers and your family members don’t care to know the level of anger you’re experiencing with your noisy neighbors or the frustration that professor has caused you. If you are unable to control your use of profanity, I would suggest switching your Twitter account to private.

3 – Get a journal / Grab a friend

RANT, verb – To suddenly give a long speech that usually results in rambling and repeating of nonsense.

2015 has been a big year for us in America: the confederate flag controversy, abortion laws, and Caitlyn Jenner reveal – just to name a few topics that have taken over Facebook and the entire internet. We all have our opinions and that’s perfectly fine, but repeatedly posting in a negative connotation, portrays a hostility, which can be dismissive and just flat out make you look mean.

Even after you’ve been hired, being aware of your activity is important. Tweeting about coworkers or a frustrating customer could cost you that dream job. 33% of employers have disciple an employee for inappropriate activity on social media.

4 – Get Linked!

As I said earlier, “94% of employers ‘use or plan to use’ social media for vetting or recruiting,” that information come straight from the PowerPoint presented to Principle of Public Relations class this week.

I am guilty of not having done so yet, but in the near future I’ll be setting up my LinkedIn account so I can easily stay connected with past coworkers, employers, and professors.

Future employers will look for your profile and see what experience you’ve had and seeing if there are any mutual connections to determine if you’d be an ideal match for the company at hand.

5 – Get to Know Your Neighbor

We’ve all been in the situation where we sit next to the same person all semester but have no idea the person’s name, major, or anything. Well, it’s time to branch out and get to know the people around you.

I’ve been guilty of this; it’s always awkward introducing yourself. I mean, what if you have something in your teeth or accidentally forget their name? Well, we as students are at a great advantage being around SO many people every single day.         Networking will definitely help you in the future when you see that guy you sat next in class to works with that awesome ad agency that’s hiring a social media manager.

6 – Last But Not Least…

Think we’ve covered it all? Not quite. This information doesn’t just apply to social media.

When submitting an actual job application and cover letter, it’s in your best interest to proofread, have your friend read (3x) to avoid any errors. A couple misspelled words here and there could be the reason you don’t get called back for an interview. We all make those errors, it’s only human, but they can be definitely be avoided.

That leads me to….email. Yes, it’s still a thing believe it or not, and while we are emailing our professors is the best time to practice being professional, even if we’re just asking a question about an assignment. People really do look at those things and appreciate when someone has the knowledge to communicate properly.


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