Social Media Dos and Don’ts: Balancing Your Personal and Professional Presence

April 1, 2015

Finding the perfect work/life balance is a constant topic of discussion, especially with young professionals and their new work schedules. Now with the high prevalence of social media, the conversation has branched off into the online realm regarding the balance of a personal and professional presence.

Whether you’re a new professional transitioning from college to the working world, or someone who has been in the profession for years, it’s a good idea to evaluate the way you portray yourself on social media. Take a step back and look at what you’ve been sharing with the world. Ask yourself if it’s an accurate representation of yourself and your career.

Everyone has their own opinion about how to go about hosting personal accounts. Some balance it through one account, while others juggle multiple accounts — one for personal and another for professional.

Establishing yourself as an individual through social media can help you increase credibility, build relationships, gain or give insight, and ignite thought leadership. With simple dos and don’ts to keep your presence in check, it’s easy and highly beneficial to maintain a balance of your personal and professional life on social media.


• Talk about confidential information. Sometimes people need a reminder. Your employer, clients and connections all trust you to keep certain information private.

• Use foul language. Do you talk to your boss like that? Speak like you would want to be spoken to and with professionalism. Sure, you can throw in some slang, but keep it clean.

• Live tweet your night at the bar. It’s OK to enjoy a night out, but keep it offline. Sharing that you tried a new craft beer is fine, but sharing that you guzzled five beers is not.

• Dive into drama. There are days where you may find yourself frustrated at work and need to vent. Social media is not the answer. Talking poorly about your co-workers, company or clients (even if they’re unnamed) will ultimately result in negative repercussions.

• Post anything with grammatical errors. Rushing to press “send” and overlooking errors will haunt you in the long run. While timing is important for social media, grammar or spelling mistakes can decrease your credibility.


• Establish your voice and make it strong and consistent. Letting your personality shine through your social imprint will not only help you come off as more authentic, but also make you seem more personable. Be serious when you need to be and have fun when you can.

• Incorporate your personal and professional interests. Use your own voice, but also back it up with content that showcases your interests inside and outside of work. This could be in the form of sharing professional articles and tips while also mixing in a link to an event you’ll be attending, or a playlist that helps you get through the workday.

• Follow or interact with professionals, friends and influencers. Connect with professionals in your area and engage with their posts. Send links to videos or articles that remind you of a friend. Chat with influencers on topics you find interesting. Social media is not only a great networking tool but it is also helpful in maintaining those relationships.

• Read before you share or retweet. The title of an article might sound intriguing, but with the rise in click bait, you never truly know what’s on the other side of a URL. Be sure to read through any content you may share to be able to continue the conversation.

Both new and experienced professionals must remember that social media is not only a public representation of yourself, but also of your company, clients and future. Taking the time to think through your personal content to intertwine two important aspects of your life can go a long way in establishing yourself on social media.

Rebecca Potzner
Rebecca Potzner is a social media strategist at Game Day Communications, founder of the blog Twist on PR and New Professionals Co-chair of the Cincinnati Chapter of PRSA. Twitter: @Beckuhbeck.


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