We go through the basics of getting social media right.

The rapid progression of technology, predominantly the internet and social media, means people, documents, money and just about everything, can be accessed from different locations all over the world in a matter of seconds. This is also known as your digital footprint.

Social media has created memes, selfies, influencers, likes, emojis, hashtags and FOMO. Whether you think these are good or bad things, what we post online, where it goes and who can see it, is becoming more and more important.

Gone are the days where you would post a job application via mail and be called on your landline for an interview. In that instance, the only thing that your potential future employer had to judge you on is your resume and telephone manner. Now, all applications are screened by software to deem whether they should make the shortlist for human eyes. What’s more, if you get to that set of eyes, chances are, you’re going to get ‘Googled’ or searched for online.

Employers are Googling applicants and depending on what they find, may or may not call them in for an interview. Many companies have policies around what you can and should post online, especially on anything to do with the company you work for.

Everything you’ve ever posted online can be accessed by someone depending on your privacy settings and that of the application itself. This means our online activity can be monitored and content shared should be carefully considered. Those photos your friend uploaded of you sculling Bintangs in Kuta in 2012, the angry comment you posted on a political post your friend of a friend made on Facebook, the borderline sexist meme you posted on Instagram as a complete joke – yes, all of that may be found.

Whether applying for a role, increasing your online network or just posting in general, staying smart online is crucial. Everything you post reflects you as a person and everyone that reads it, will judge you based on the content and language you chose.

Here are some simple do’s and don’ts to consider when you’re writing your next LinkedIn post, Facebook comment or creating an Instagram story to stay as safe and smart online as you do in life.

Do

Think about your privacy settings

Each social media platform has different privacy rules. If you have a completely open profile it means that anybody in the world can look you up and find, record and share everything you’re posting. If you wouldn’t want Mr X in Croatia to see pictures of your children at the beach last weekend or your latest promotion post, keep your profiles private.

Keep it neutral

Topics that may easily spark an argument, such as politics or religion should be avoided or treated very carefully on social media. Just like at a dinner party, discussions on some topics can cause friction, judgement or offense online. Keeping your thoughts on any sensitive topics to yourself will allow employers that Google you, the chance to find out your opinion in a conversation with you. Avoid forming a pre-conceived notion of who you are and what you think about a certain issue because of a post you made that doesn’t reflect the full picture.

Consider your audience

Different social media platforms are used for different purposes. For example, LinkedIn is a professional platform, mostly used for networking and recruiting. You may choose to connect on LinkedIn with colleagues and employers, however Facebook could be more for friends and family. Think about who you want to connect with and on what platform. Your family and friends on Facebook might love to see your holiday pictures or your toddler learning to walk, however your professional network on LinkedIn may find it irrelevant. On the other hand, your network on LinkedIn may be really interested in what you think about the upcoming government legislation changes to Division 7A, your Facebook friends may not.

Don’ts

Overshare

Endless posting is likely to disengage your network and reduce your credibility. Your reputation will follow you everywhere, not only in life but also in your profession. You may have a close-knit circle of friends who follow you on Instagram and love the daily updates of your lunch, however an employer or colleague may not see it this way. Keep your posts to colleagues and your professional network relevant, engaging and topical to who you are and what you do.

Be inauthentic

On the other end of the scale to oversharing and avoiding sensitive topics, don’t make your posts sound robotic and scripted, especially on Linked In. Your online presence is a reflection of who you are, so make sure it accurately reflects what part of you that you want others to see. Post about things you are passionate about. Congratulate colleagues on their success. Share posts that you believe are effective and engaging and most importantly, be yourself.

The Tax Institute is dedicated to supporting the career progression of women in the tax, accounting and legal professions. As the leading forum for Australia’s tax community, we are committed to representing our 12,000 members and the continuous improvement of the tax system. Find out more about the benefits membership of The Tax Institute can deliver for your role

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