SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. Last week’s poll question: How do you keep your social media presence professional?
- I keep separate accounts for personal and professional networking: 68.46%
- I use filters, such as Circles on Google+, to make sure posts are seen by the right people: 9.13%
- I do not use social networks for professional purposes — only personal matters: 8.71%
- I only post things that are related to my job, no matter what network I’m on: 8.30%
- I don’t use social networks at all: 5.39%
Last week, I interviewed Donna Farrugia, the executive director of The Creative Group, about how social media can be used to make connections in your career. She cautioned that “it’s important to always be careful about what you post and with whom you’re sharing the information,” which is something that many of our readers seem to be aware of. More than 85% of readers who responded said they post only business-related content or use filters or separate accounts to make sure personal matters don’t become office gossip.
It seems that the vast majority of our readers are leading double lives when it comes to social networking. Having one profile dedicated to professional life and another for their life outside the 9-to-5 was the chosen method of almost 70% of respondents. Chances are, this adds up to profiles on two different sites — one on a professional site and one on a social site. Farrugia pointed out that while “Facebook and LinkedIn are big networking sites … there are also sites tailored to specific industries,” so the idea of having profiles on two different sites may be worth the upkeep. This approach makes sense, since most professional sites focus only on your career and don’t offer all the bells and whistles such as public messaging, photo albums and interactive games that can often lead to the kind of oversharing that gets professionals in trouble.
That’s not to suggest that social sites can’t have merit in the professional world. Roughly 8% of readers who responded have a play-it-safe strategy and only post things that are relevant to their job. But keeping your profile professional doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Farrugia suggested that professionals post about their hobbies so colleagues can “get a sense of your personality.”