Empowering the Freelance Economy

How to fix up your social media fails with a digital clean-up

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In business reputation is everything. But what if your digital history was hurting your chances of landing new clients or getting hired at all if you are an agency contractor? Is it time to bring in the professionals?

The tweet of no return?

It only takes one. That stranger that reads one of your social media posts (personal or even professional) and goes to town on it. You re-read their comments. You go back to what you posted and can’t make the connection between what you have posted and its good-natured intention and the stranger’s viper-like response. Before you know it other strangers join the bandwagon and your tweet is in the throes of a ping pong match of snarky replies.

You are overwhelmed by the responses so you turn off the notifications and try to call it a night. You wake in the night and check to see if things have quieted down. The post thread has now gone international and off tangent.

Sometimes you can just leave the thread, even delete the post, but what if your post’s intention was misconstrued and eventually disparages your character? What if you became a meme overnight? What if clients suddenly go quiet?

Welcome to cancel culture and how it can seriously mess up your life and career.

Individuals are not alone in this quagmire of social media witch hunts and faux paus. Compliance-driven financial institutions and big-name brands can also easily fall into the troll trap or create a social media fail of their own making.

But what if you really make a digital arse of yourself with your digital assets? Can you do anything about it? According to a Financial Times report, there are companies that can give a helping hand: the social media clean-up companies.

It’s still early days, which is why companies that are offering social media reputational services don’t come cheap – they have the first-mover advantage. Some firms appear geared for high-net-worth individuals, CEOs of multinationals and even politicians. Others are targeting business reputations – turning around unsavoury customer reviews, for example, through a step-by-step crisis management plan.

But if you are already an SEO expert and understand how to bring a person’s digital assets into one place and that place ranks number one in searches on Google, then you just might have a career in digital reputation management. And if you have an HR buddy who is looking to branch out on their own as a consultant, you might just have the makings of a new business. Check out the companies towards the end of this article to suss the possibilities (and their prices if you need their services). In the meantime, here are some tips (for free).

Here’s some proactive social media faux pas-free advice:

  • Keep your mobile phone out of the bathroom (we don’t need to explain any potential scenarios, do we?)
  • Social media and drink don’t mix. Tell yourself if it is a brilliant post now, it will still be brilliant tomorrow, just with the added benefit of a clear head
  • Never post and drive (it’s against the law)
  • If it would upset or alienate your partner, parents, grandparents, kids, sibling, aunty, neighbour, boss or client – don’t post it! Whisper the expression to yourself. If that doesn’t do the trick, write it on a piece of paper, burn it and avoid a sacking, family mutiny, divorce or uncomfortable family reunion
  • If you want to share an inside joke with friends, perhaps keep it on WhatsApp. You can always delete the message (for you and everyone else) and it is not up for public discussion (well unless you are the PM and James Dyson)
  • Never write your full first name (just the initial) on LinkedIn if you share the same name as a convicted serial arsonist
  • Replace where possible disparaging posts and content with new, positive and reputable posts and social media profiles. Hire a freelance SEO specialist and social media consultant to work on your digital profile and assets

Social media reputation management companies to check out

The Marque (Mayfair, London)

Brand Yourself (New York)

Digitalis – Online Reputation and Digital Risk Management (London)

Terakeet (US/New York State)

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