Social media activity will one day “put Minority Report to shame,” quips entrepreneur Mark Cuban — specifically warning of the “permanence” of our activity on social platforms.
Our posts and tweets says Cuban, “provide more information on our proclivities than just about any other current source of Big Data aggregation available.” Scary stuff.
What we post can leave indelible impressions –especially when it’s concluded, by most people, that we generally put our best face forward in digital spaces. So, what does it say about me if my best is an impulsive tweet or post?
A reputation that took years to establish can be wrecked in less than 140 characters.
If you understand your social media activity as more than your social life and grasp this as integral to your professional life, then it’s crucial to establish — and maintain — your personal social media brand. Now, more than ever, your credibility is on the line with prospective clients, partnerships, and business opportunities.
Like it or not, the business world is driven by consumer perception. A world where people make sweeping judgments about you based on something as seemingly trivial as a “bad day” status update. This includes the pictures you post, how you comment, mentions about you from others, and even what you “like.”
If you care about your social capital, here are three important things to consider about your social presence.
Have a consistent communication style.
People notice what you say and how you say it. Thoughtful posts and comments — and even what you choose to like — become the essential you in the eyes of the digital age. So, communicate in a way that’s smart and that makes you look as smart as we all know you really are. What are you really interested in? Make your mark by speaking intelligently about those things.
Sometimes silences are as eloquent as sayings.
A single post or comment isn’t going to change the world, so if it’s highly controversial or emotional, consider: is it worth saying? Often not. Here’s a good exercise: Go back into your timeline and read what you wrote 2-3 years ago. After you’re done making all those deletions, remind yourself of how you felt looking back. No one can judge you for what you didn’t post.
Resist the temptation to speak ill of others.
This never looks good on you and you will always regret it eventually. People who “troll” and “flame” are seen as petty, childish, and not good for a workplace or to be any kind of business associate. Your mother was right: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
As an entrepreneur, or business leader, your personal brand will affect the audience that you’re hoping to influence. This is life in the digital age.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mark Jay Scott has been a writer and speaker for nearly 20 years, formerly as a radio personality for a major market FM station in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region where he produced and hosted two weekly programs, Real Life Matters and Essential Radio; and excelled in copywriting and voiceover production for a wide variety of commercial advertisers. Mark loves to help people succeed by motivating them and showing them simple and practical ways to love and keep their productive edge in life and business at Love Your Edge. Connect with @markjayscott on Twitter.