I think that by now we are fairly used to hearing and talking about the Do’s and Don’ts for brands and corporations in the social media space, but what about individuals? No one has given us a guideline on how we can or should use social media platforms.

We are so used to sharing close to anything and everything that happens in our life that we tend to forget that the social media world is unforgiving and doesn’t forget.

In case you didn’t know, everything that it is published over the Internet will be there forever, even if you “delete it”. If you don’t believe me, I would like to remind you the story of Justine Sacco. Her tweet not only ruined her career, but also has had deep consequences on her family life.

It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 30 years old or if you have been in the social media world for 1 month or 10 years, social media can be the perfect recipe for disaster if you don’t know its ramifications. So here are 3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts that are meant to help you guide your social media ventures:

 

DO Share your life events

Your graduation, your wedding day, your first transcontinental trip or even a super nice cup of coffee are all perfect examples of things you can share with your social media community. Those are happy times and give an insight as to who you are what you value.

 

DON’T Rant

It is ok from time to time to complain about a product or service, but you have to watch your language. Remember, every time you post, tweet or Instagram anything you are exposing yourself to the world. For better or for worse, with each post you are building your personal brand. If you are constantly being a Debbie downer people will take notice.

 

DO Participate

Some people are so scared of the ramifications of social media that they don’t participate all together. Think back to a time when you hear about something new or interesting. What is the first thing you do when you want to look for more information? You will most likely turn to the Internet to find some answers. This is especially important when you are applying for jobs; At the very least you should have a LinkedIn profile where potential employers can learn more about you.

 

DON’T Just follow back

There is a saying in Spanish that reads, “tell me who you are with, and I will tell you who you are”. Profiles that you follow are also part of your brand. They show your interests and the type of content you like to consume. So be careful not to follow, spammy or iffy accounts since they reflect directly on you. Those “follow back” and ”like back” practices can end up doing more harm than good at the end of the day. As with many other things in life, think of your social media profiles in terms of quality instead of quantity.

 

DO Be active

There is nothing sketchier than inactive account. Determine which platforms best speak to your skills and interests. For example, if you are a photographer it makes more sense to be active on Instagram and/or Flicker. As is the case with brands, remember that not every platform is right for everyone. It is better to have one or two well-populated profiles than having 6 that are deserted.

 

DON’T Be grammatically incorrect

Again, remember that even if you are not using your social media for business purposes and they are personal accounts, with each post you are building your personal brand, which is affecting how people perceive you. Grammatical errors are sloppy and show a neglect of your image. Think of it as if you are walking down the street with a white shirt that has a big coffee stain on it, people will only notice the stain and will probably ignore the rest of your outfit or even what you are saying.

 

What do you think? What are the best practices for individuals on social media platforms?