If you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, you may be aware that many companies check out the social media accounts of prospective employees. But did you know that 51% of employers also use social media to find out more about their current workforce?
From controversial comments to inappropriate images, we take a look at five of the biggest social media fails made by employees. Read on to discover how you can avoid them!
Social Media Use in UK
1. Complaining about your workplace
of employees in the UK have been reprimanded or sacked due to social media posts
If an employer spots you whining about work on social media, they might consider your complaint to be an act of gross misconduct. This could jeopardise both your job and your future career. Everyone needs to vent about work from time to time, but it’s much safer to do this in the privacy of your home. Alternatively, why not call a close friend and chat things over on the phone? If you decide you need to take action, consider raising the issue with your manager.
Some company contracts now include social media provisions, which can include the option to sack employees who reveal confidential information or spread negative publicity. If you’re not sure whether this applies to you, ask your HR team. We also recommend thinking very carefully before you add your employer to your social media profiles, as you could viewed as a company representative.
2. Sharing inappropriate images
While social networks provide the perfect platform for sharing images with friends and family, it’s important to pause before you post, because once you’ve published a picture, it’s out there for everyone to see. Tempting as it is to share those embarrassing hen night images on Instagram, would you really want your employer or even your colleagues to see them? We’re not trying to be killjoys, but it’s probably wise to share this kinds of picture via a private text message, email or WhatsApp message!
Instead of using your social media accounts to share inappropriate pictures, why not focus on cleaning up your page and posting images that make a positive impression? Set some time aside to change the privacy settings of the photos you don’t like, add a professional looking profile picture and include any images that emphasise your achievements.
3. Ignoring privacy options
Most social media sites are public by default, so many users don’t bother to adjust their privacy settings. But unless you really want your employer and colleagues to have access to every single update and picture you post, it’s best to check out your options.
Million Facebook users don’t protect their profiles at all
How to use Privacy Settings on Facebook
Facebook’s privacy settings enable you to decide whether friends, friends of friends or the general public can see your posts, pictures, personal information and photo albums. You can limit this further by creating customised lists. It’s also possible to adjust who can view your previous posts and who can see the people and pages that you like and follow.
Using a PC or laptop? To get started, go into your settings by clicking the arrow at the top right of your Facebook page. Click on settings and a list will appear on the left hand side of the page. Select the padlock to access your privacy options.
If you’re using Facebook on an android smartphone, click on the three horizontal lines at the top right of your page, then scroll down and click on settings, before selecting the padlock picture. On an iPhone, open the Facebook app, tap the three horizontal lines at the bottom right hand corner, then scroll down and tap the settings and privacy button. Select privacy shortcuts then privacy checkup.
How to use Privacy Settings on Twitter
If you’re a Twitter user, you can control who can see your tweets, who can tag you in photos, who can mention you by your twitter handle and who can follow you. To access your settings on a PC or laptop, click on your profile picture, select settings and privacy and click on the privacy and safety option that will appear to the left of your page.
If you’re using your Twitter account on an android smartphone, tap on your profile picture, select settings and privacy, then tap on privacy and safety. iPhone users will need to tap on the gear icon, then select the protect my tweets option.
How to use Privacy Settings on Instagram
This image based app allows users to choose whether their pictures and videos are private or public. If you have an account, you can also tailor your settings so that new contact requests have to be reviewed and accepted.
To make your account private on an android smartphone you’ll need to tap the person icon, then tap the three dots before selecting private. On an iPhone, choose the person icon, then tap the gear icon.
4. Courting controversy
To keep your social media presence positive, we suggest steering clear of potentially controversial topics like politics, religion and sex. Conversations can easily overheat when they’re carried out online and one insensitive tweet could result in a tsunami of negative comments. It’s also worth remembering that visiting employers might not share your sense of humour, so think before you share the latest risqué joke, GIF or funny meme.
Of course, we’re not saying that you can’t use social media platforms to express a bit of personality, as many employers love discovering more about their employees’ interests, hobbies and hidden talents. As well as showing your more sociable side, why not use your accounts to share your expertise by posting a few well argued articles related to your work?
5. Being over friendly
Employers can learn a lot simply by looking at the pages you like and the social media accounts you follow, so it’s best to avoid people and organisations who consistently share negative or derogatory posts. Be choosy, even if that means you have to spend an afternoon editing the list of pages you’ve liked.
Following a few industry leaders on social media is a great way to communicate your passion for your career, as long as they share your employer’s values. Once you’ve liked or followed someone, try to share some of their content, make a few intelligent comments and contribute to discussions when you can.
If you use them with care and avoid the social media fails we’ve shared, your social media accounts will provide you with the perfect platform for showcasing your industry knowledge, your values and your personality. However, it’s always worth keeping an eye out for updates and new privacy policies, as the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are constantly changing. Don’t let one Facebook faux pas ruin your career!