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Don’t post if you wouldn’t shout it inside Soccer City stadium

Think of the last social media post you popped online. Now, picture yourself using a huge megaphone to broadcast that message to the whole stadium. That’s social media in a nutshell. And that’s why you need to think twice about everything you post.

Think about it in these terms:

“Cell C has over 16 million customers with devices that grant access to these platforms. So, we want our customers to be safe and get the most out of the social sites they engage with.”

“People don’t realise the reach – or longevity – their online posts have. Some schools have already started to educate young children on the importance of good social media etiquette and how to guard against online dangers. But, most of us didn’t receive much in the way of education on ‘netiquette’ – Internet etiquette,” says Hazel Chimhandamba, Executive Head of Marketing, at Cell C.

A 2019 CareerBuilder survey found 70% of employers use social media to screen prospective candidates. Over half the employers surveyed said they’d found something in their social screenings that led them not to hire someone. The leading causes? Inappropriate or provocative photos. Posts about drinking or drug usage and discriminatory comments. Interestingly, poor communication skills were also cited.

The take away from this is that we all need to watch how we conduct ourselves online. So, here are top 8 tips on excellent social media etiquette:

  1. Disclaimers are not protection. If you think writing “my comments are my own and not my employers” on your profile offer you a get-out-of-jail-free card on social media, think again. Your bad behaviour on social media can have workplace consequences – regardless of that proudly displayed ‘disclaimer’ on your profile.
  2. Think twice before reacting. Try not to be reactive when you see other people’s posts that you disagree with. Frequently, engagement with these isn’t worth the effort. Be careful, with posting strong opinions or polarising political views of your own. Remember, often the subtle nuances and tones of arguments get lost in text form. If you can’t help yourself, try DMing them before calling them out for all to see on social media.
  3. Don’t be a drama llama. Avoid the trap of oversharing. You’ve heard the phrase “never send an email while angry”. That goes double for social media.
  4. Don’t post promotional material on other people’s walls unless you have permission. Think about asking an administrator before you advertise your business elevator pitch on a public wall.
  5. Proofread, please. Remember, poor communication skills made some employers turn prospective candidates down. Conduct rigorous social media spell-checks and avoid writing slang words that could possibly position you as a person who doesn’t bother using ‘full sentences’.
  6. Be generous. As a rule of thumb, for each post you do about yourself, share two or three posts about someone else. Follow lots of people who interest you, do regular follow-backs, and post about companies that you feel connect positively with your own values
  7. Watch the complaints. Unfortunately, many companies respond to customer complaints more quickly on social media than other platforms, so we’ve become conditioned to complaining on social. A lot. Consider sending direct messages before you take to broadcasting your irritation on companies’ walls. Remember, it’s a small world. Some of the businesses you publicly complain about could become future employers or clients.
  8. Check your privacy settings often. This is a good rule but remember even privacy settings aren’t ironclad. So, if you’ve got pictures and posts you think might harm your personal brand, consider taking these down. Also remember to check the privacy terms and conditions on any platforms you use regularly as they can be subject to change.

Build the best possible brand ‘you’ online by being vigilant about your online behaviour.

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