Oops, did I say that? Social media can come back to haunt you

It started with a dream

Not many adults still believe the things they believed when at school. The dream of becoming a professional footballer probably ended around the same age as when it became legal to drink alcohol. The closest you got to becoming a pilot was when you paid extra for seats near the front of your family flight to Portugal. And you never did get to marry Sarah who used to sit next to you in maths.

It’s always been that way. The dreams we have as children fade away (copyright Noel Gallagher).

The difference is that nowadays, thoughts, feelings and emotions are captured and recorded. Diaries for the world to see.

Nowadays, the dreams and thoughts we have as children or teenagers, don’t fade away, they simply fade into the background, temporarily hidden, ready and waiting to raise their ugly head as soon as we start to make something of our lives.

You only have to look at recent headlines to prove that point.

People change. Opinions change. However, folk on social media are not so forgiving. You may have had the time to reflect and repent words you have spoken in the past. But, online, nobody will care that you said it years ago, that you have since matured, you no longer feel that way (and arguably never did). You may have changed, but it’s too late.

You’re cancelled. It’s over. Done.

Don’t fall into the fatal trap of thinking this only affects celebrities. Potential employers will check your online profiles before hiring, as will universities, colleges and existing or potential clients you’re working with. Friendships and relationships could be jeopardised.

Reputation management has never been so important. Build a name for yourself for the right reasons. Speak to family and friends and stress how important this is to you. Don’t forget, they can also post things about you that may affect your professional online appearance.

If you’re a business owner, consider the consequences of having a poor, or badly affected, brand reputation. Nowadays, we are seeing increasing emphasis placed on combining social media and PR to create brand value. Often, the image of company and founder can go hand-in-hand, particularly for entrepreneurial businesses. That value can go down just as quickly as it went up if news coverage turns sour.

Download our brand reputation eBook for more insights to crisis comms.

As an entrepreneur, build a rich social profile that portrays your personality in a positive light. Seek recommendations from clients. Avoid political commentary. Offer considered thought and insight into the topics which matter most to your industry.

It all sounds simple enough but one false step and who knows where you will land? So, tread carefully and be guided by the right principles and advice.

If you want to know more about managing your brand reputation, download our helpful guide here. If this blog has you thinking about your online presence, say hello@cwa.co.uk and we can work together to ensure your reputation.

Written by
Kevin Cooke
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