We’ve reached the point in my personal branding class where my undergraduate business and MBA students are required to set-up a Facebook page. Facebook is a powerful platform for a serious personal brander because of the unique ability it gives you to wrap your personality around your value. But if you are all personality and no value on Facebook, then you are treating Facebook more like a toy for social recreation than a tool to help your career or business.
Most students already had a Facebook page before class started, and many are not going to like the changes I ask them to make for the purposes of my class. The biggest problem for many is going to be cleaning up the photos they’ve posted. I think a good Facebook page should have lots of photos, but for personal branders, those photos should be professionally personal.
Look at every photo you have posted on Facebook. For each photo, think about how that would look on the wall in your office or area at work. If you posted that photo at work:
- Would it violate a company policy?
- Would it make any of your co-workers uncomfortable?
- Would it make any of your customers or suppliers uncomfortable?
- Would it affect how those you’ve been given the privilege to lead think about you?
- Would it affect how your boss thinks about you?
- Would it help or hinder your chances of getting a promotion?
For those serious about personal branding, if you wouldn’t post that picture of you in your workplace then don’t post it on your Facebook page. Forget about privacy; operate your Facebook page as if you have no privacy and then you will never post anything, anytime, anywhere that would threaten any aspect of your personal or professional life. If there is anything on your page that you think needs to be hidden or kept private, just delete it.
Treat Facebook like a coffee shop, not your living room.
The way you operate your Facebook page can help you get a job or get promoted if you demonstrate that you understand how to be professionally personal online. As business becomes increasingly social, employees that are good digital citizens will be very valuable.
Photo credit: I got it from Andrew Heilman; original source unknown.