5 Social Media Tips to Safeguard Your Career

Balancing Personal Privacy & Professional Consequences

In today's digital age, social media plays a crucial role in our lives. From creating content on TikTok to keeping up with old Facebook friends, there are many benefits to the world of virtual connection. While technology continues to evolve and improve over time, one thing has stayed the same for California workers: the risk of damaging their professional careers and reputation through online activity.

Given that a whopping 90% of people in the U.S. actively use social media in 2023, it's no wonder that hardworking employees have been forced to adapt and learn how to balance personal social accounts with their professional lives. One misstep in the virtual world can do significant damage to a person's professional reputation, making it all the more important for employed Californians to exercise caution and wisdom online.

Keep reading to learn more about how employees can safeguard their professional careers in a rapidly-growing virtual world.

5 Social Media Tips to Safeguard Your Career

From TikTok to Meta to YouTube, technology can be a great way to connect with others in online settings, often offering valuable opportunities to learn and express ourselves. However, it’s still crucial to be mindful of the potential impacts that social media can have on our financial security, employability, and professional reputations.

As an employee in California, it's essential to strike a balance between personal privacy and the potential professional consequences of your online presence, even in personal or private social accounts. Keep reading to learn 5 valuable tips to safeguard your professional career on social media.

1. Review privacy settings and adjust as needed.

One best practice to safeguard your social accounts is by reviewing and adjusting the privacy settings. Ensure that only trusted individuals have access to your personal information and posts. Set your profile to private to limit the visibility of your content to friends and connections, and be sure to review and update these settings as needed, especially when platform policies and features change.

2. Always think twice before you post.

It’s normal to get excited to share a social media post, especially after working hard to carefully craft the perfect photo (or Reel, or TikTok, or Short, or Shot; there must be countless names for content in this new era where short-form videos are king). Still, it’s probably worth your time to think twice before you click “share.”

While personal content generally isn’t subject to the same parameters as professional accounts, your posts are still traceable reflections of who you are and what you stand for—things that current and future employers may be interested in learning about before deciding to invest in you.

Before sharing anything on social media, ask yourself if it aligns with the image you're wanting to portray to personal and professional connections alike. Consider potential consequences and how they may be perceived by colleagues, employers, or clients. Be cautious about sharing controversial opinions or engaging in heated discussions that could reflect negatively on you. Remember, once something is online, it can be challenging to fully remove or erase it.

3. Separate personal and professional/business accounts online.

Consider creating separate social media accounts for personal and professional use. Having a dedicated professional account can help you showcase your expertise, network with industry professionals, and engage in relevant discussions. Employees can use these accounts to share industry-related content, participate in online communities, and build a positive online presence.

It's worth noting that having a professional social media account doesn’t automatically free you of any obligations to your personal account. It’s still important to exercise caution and stay mindful of the online image you’re projecting in your personal time—after all, it’s all too easy to explore linked accounts, which is something many employers choose to do.

4. Maintain a respectful tone when engaging and posting on social media.

Some workers wrongly assume that because they have personal social media accounts, they can say whatever they'd like on their platforms. While there is some validity to the idea, it isn't necessarily true--worse, it can be a dangerous mentality to adopt.

Even on personal accounts, it's important to maintain a professional tone. Avoid using offensive language, derogatory remarks, or engaging in online conflicts. Remember that potential employers or colleagues might come across your posts or comments. Be mindful of the impression you want to create and ensure your online behavior aligns with your desired professional image.

5. Regularly monitor and clean up your virtual presence.

It’s critical for employees to regularly review and clean up their social media presence. This isn’t to say that you have anything to hide or did anything wrong—in many cases, the need to clean up social accounts can arise through no fault of our own, such as being tagged in spammy posts on Facebook or having your DMs hacked.

Employees can benefit by searching their names on search engines to see what information is publicly available. It’s important to remove or request the removal of any content that could harm your professional reputation. Regularly monitor your social media accounts for tags, mentions, or comments that could potentially be damaging, and take care to address any concerns promptly and professionally.

Safeguarding Your Employee Rights in Monterey County

At Polaris Law Group, LLP, our exclusive focus on employment law allows us to obtain justice for hardworking Californians throughout Monterey County. We have over 25 years of experience representing wronged workers in a variety of employment law disputes, from wrongful termination to sexual harassment lawsuits. If you’ve been mistreated in the workplace, you deserve fierce representation to hold offenders accountable for their misconduct. Reach out to our firm today to learn how we can help you restore your financial security and preserve your professional reputation.

If you’ve been mistreated at work, turn to our trusted Monterey County employment lawyer. Call (888) 796-4010 to schedule a free consultation.