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How Professional Should Your Blog or Twitter Updates Be?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Blogging and social networking sites are now part of everyday life and not just for staying in touch with friends. Increasingly, companies and individuals are using these methods of communication to network with customers and potential clients. So just how professional should your blog or social networking comments be?

Well, it really depends on whether you’re writing on your own personal blog, Twitter, Facebook or myspace page or if you’re acting on behalf of your company.

Personal Accounts

It is worth remembering that your colleagues or boss are potentially going to read your entries on your personal pages too, so keep it clean unless you’ve set your profile to ‘personal’ and don’t have anyone other than friends outside work as your online friends. This is especially true of Facebook, where many people have got caught out by writing updates about how bored they are at work or how much they hate their boss! It’s also easy to forget that everyone you have accepted as a friend on Facebook can see your details, so if you update your status or add some new photos of a raucous night or, worse still, put on your status that you’re pulling a ‘sickie’ !

Professional Accounts

The vast majority of businesses have websites now and, in order to keep Google rankings up, most have updateable sections. It is becoming increasingly popular for these sites to have a ‘Latest News’ section with product launches and general industry information related to the company, but also a more informal blog. It may be easier to remember that you are blogging in a ‘professional capacity’ because you will probably be typing from work, but it is still easy to forget that you are representing a brand.

If you have your own business, you may not be sure which camp you fall into. There is also a growing trend in people sharing what would have been considered personal information in a professional capacity. For example, if you think of celebrities that have embraced Twitter, such as Stephen Fry or Ashton Kutcher, their ‘professional’ profile has greatly increased, even though they are sharing ‘personal’ information online.

What’s Your Business?

In order to appreciate what type of blog posting or Twitter updates are suitable for your purposes, you need to think about what you are trying to achieve by raising your profile online. If, for example, you are an advertising executive, you may be trying to appeal to new customers by showing how in tune you are with current advertising trends. If, on the other hand, you run a recruitment business, you may be using Twitter to display your latest vacancies.

Your style of posting should be appropriate to your business type and your aims. Speak to your internal communications manager if necessary to ensure that you are staying ‘on message’ with the companies aims. If it is your own business, think about your own brand values before you start typing away and giving the wrong impression of your business.

Know the Boundaries

Whatever your business, using blogs and social networking sites for communication – personal or professional – has some boundaries. Perhaps the most important is also the most obvious – don’t offend anyone. If you’ve got juicy gossip about yourself or someone else, send it in an email from your non-work email address if you have to, but don’t go Tweeting about it, or having it as your Facebook status update. It might feel good for a minute but it can easily come back to haunt you.

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