What’s the role of social media and business? Well, if you’re Scott Baio, better known as Chachi of Happy Days, you may be doing damage control for your personal brand. When the news of his former girlfriend and co-star Erin Moran’s death hit the news, Baio incorrectly tweeted that her cause of death was drugs. He had to eat his own words when it was later revealed that her cause of death was throat cancer.
The internet could hardly wait to release anti-Chachi memes including, “No one loves Chachi anymore.”
Let’s just say Baio has been spending the better part of the week doing damage control for his brand. What can we learn from his experience? Social media IS business. People ARE watching and they care about what you’re saying.
Whether you’re a former child star or a Jacksonville court reporter, what you say on social media is seen by your community. Not only that but it can impact your brand and job prospects.
59% of hiring managers use social media to research prospective employees. [Source]
In addition to using professional sites like LinkedIn to find and learn more about candidates, they also search Facebook, Twitter, and Google to find out what you’re like as a person and an employee. The lesson? Be careful what you and your friends are posting about you on social media and other websites. It can damage your chances for work with an ideal employer or client.
What do you do to protect yourself on social media?
My first rule of thumb is to never post anything about a client or sensitive situation. Fighting with my best friend? That doesn’t make it to social media. Deal with a client went sour? You’ll never see me writing about my experience online. Someone wants to post photos of me? I have my Facebook set so that I approve when anyone tags me in a photo. It’s not a foolproof system but it helps keep my brand professional and appropriate should someone search for me online.
As a business owner, it’s important to know which sites your business is listed on so that you can monitor and respond to online reviews. It’s better to reply to a bad review than let it hang on the internet with no response.
While there is always risk, we live in a society that is online and on social media. Even if you think you’re avoiding being on social media, it’s likely someone is sharing photos or information about you. If you’re not looking for it or searching your own online presence, you won’t be able to do damage control so it’s probably better to dip your toe into social media if only to protect yourself professionally so you don’t end up like Scott Baio.