Friday, October 11, 2013

Social Media and Image and Personal Brand Management

I have over the years ranted about people who don't understand that they can't just post anything in the world on social media even if it's a personal page. I recently got a glimpse of an associate's picture in which it was like his 10th picture with a glass of wine in his hand. Now one glass of wine, no problem. Maybe you're at a party, and it's a toast. Second picture, well, okay I'll give it a pass. Maybe you're just at a lot of social functions and you have a glass to relax. Third picture ... now I'm starting to look sideways ... here are some important points about why it's important to mind what you're photographed doing -- especially if it's imbibing too much.

Employers and Prospective Clients Now Look on Social Media -- yes, perhaps you've been interviewing for a new job. Did you know that many employers now use social media to check you out? Young people should be especially conscious of this fact. So, party picture where you went overboard and look like the dog brought you in from a soaking in liquor -- not good. Too many pictures of you and your friends and/or boyfriend in celebration -- not good. Ten pictures of you and your significant other in the hot tub with the beer, cocktail or wine -- not good. Too many "what stays in Vegas" but is permanent in digital photography -- not good.

Why does it matter? Did you know many clients and organizations are sometimes religious or even Mormon (Mormons don't drink and frown on it). Why would you want to be eliminated as a job candidate or even a company they hire, because your company CEO is shot drinking too much? Another problem you might not consider: some businesses or prospective business don't want that kind of liability. Are you really an alcoholic? They don't know the answer, but 10 pictures with you drinking wine, martinis, margaritas or beer and the question is planted. They don't want a person who drinks too much to come to work hung-over or even have too many alcohol-related absences.

Here is something you may never ever have considered ... what if someone is considering partnering with you in business and they're checking you out. Do you think that they will want the liability of an alcoholic as a business partner? Having once had the misfortune of realizing a business partner had an alcohol problem, I can tell you if I search for a partner and I see my prospect with too many drinking pictures my alarm bells are going off.

Thinking nothing of it can be a huge mistake even in terms of your personal image and things you project. Again, social drinking isn't a big deal. Alcohol is a legal drug and people drink socially. But because alcohol is socially acceptable sometimes people on social media don't realize what they're projecting -- and while social media is a personal venue it's also a professional marketing tool. Either way, though, if you don't have an actual drinking problem, don't project that you do. People will make personal observations about you that are perhaps not flattering. Business people concerned with your reliability will not want to work with Bob who was photographed at 10 functions -- each time with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other. It's just not flattering is it? And it's a simple fix. Don't make alcohol or anything else unseemly a reason you're not getting the business. Mind your image as keenly and as astutely as you should be minding your brand.

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