We all behave like idiots at times. The one saving grace has always been that only a privileged few ever got to see us say or do dumb things. Until now.   What you say and do in the privacy of your own home is your own business. But what you post on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is read by hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, and will be there until the end of time.

 

Anyone considering hiring or doing business with you — not just today but for the rest of your life — will Google you and check out your social media presence. Which means lots and lots of you are doing some serious damage to your careers, your business, and yes, to your personal brands.

 

How you can ruin your reputation in six easy steps:

 

TMI – too much personal information!

Nobody cares and you lose all credibility by putting it in your profile.   

 

Look at me — I’ve got a degree.

Stop listing academic degrees and obscure certification initials next to your name on profiles.

There’s a place for your education information…. Keep it there.

 

I’ve got privacy settings on Facebook so it’s safe and confidential.

Oh, really?  Those pictures of you and your comments that your friends shared?  What are THEIR privacy settings?  Trust me, if it’s on the internet, we can find it!

 

Bragging about projects and clients.

Don’t you know your competitors can read this stuff? Why are you giving away your strategies to a competitor?

It’s like talking to the media and having these statements on the front page of the New York Times, or worse, in a courtroom.

 

Talking to strangers.

Would you walk up to a complete stranger on the street and ask them to marry you?

Then stop sending email  requests to people you don’t even know to endorse their skills on LinkedIn, buy your products/services, or work with you.

 

I’m a cartoon character.

Or worse – use a picture that’s more than 5 years old as your profile photograph..

It’s all about honesty, people. And building credibility.  Use a professional photograph . .  and use a professional message on your phone system (I hate those cute-sy ones!)

 

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