Social Networking You Are Your BrandSocial Media Tools
If you are a small business owner, what you do on the Internet, even from a personal perspective, helps form potential customer’s opinion about your brand. If you are a high school junior or senior who plans to attend college after graduation, your comments and status updates on sites like Facebook are part of your personal brand. If you are looking for employment, what you say on social networking sites is easily accessible to potential employers. How you are perceived on the web is directly correlated to how you present yourself. However, how you are perceived might not necessarily reflect your intentions. Perception is in the eye of the perceiver.
No matter what your small business sells, whether it is products or services, you, as the owner of your business are also your brand. If your company sells blue eyeglass cases or healthcare software, what you say or do on the Internet affects your brand. Even if what you say on the web has nothing to do with blue eyeglass cases or healthcare software, it has a direct effect on how your potential customers perceive you. The same principle applies to college and job applicants.
The Internet offers an almost ridiculously huge array of social networking sites to engage and participate in. From Facebook to Twitter, what you “say” is read by anyone anywhere who is interested enough to “listen”. When you make a comment on someone’s Facebook post or status you need to remember that if it is off-colored or inflammatory in any way, you may have just left a negative impression of yourself in someone’s mind. If you are a small business owner, that negative impression will be carried over to your brand and you might have just lost a potential customer. It is easy to forget that while we are using social networking sites for entertainment purposes, we are also having an impact on our reputation and our brand.
It has become common knowledge that colleges and potential employers often check out potential students or employees on the social networking sites to get an idea of who they are. An easy solution for someone looking for a job who wants to control what potential employers might see is to simply not write anything that could be perceived as controversial, insulting or inflammatory. But for some, this might take the fun out of social networking. It is a matter of personal preference on how one chooses to network. As long as you realize what the potential impact is of your style of networking, the choice is yours.
It is interesting to see the how the young people are reacting to this realization that what they write affects their reputation and could impact their chances of getting into a college. They are changing their real names, often, on sites like Facebook, so that their comments and conversations will not show up in searches as being tied to their real name. For now, this tactic might work, but it is highly possible that social site tracking tools might at some point in the future figure out a way to infiltrate this evasive technique.