Sounds like the start of a really bad joke. The thing is, if you don’t think about those three people before posting something on social media, the joke could be on you.
You’ve probably heard the famous Cisco case where a candidate was hired, then tweeted:
Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.
That tweet was seen by someone at Cisco, who replied:
Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.
Ouch! Or there was the situation where an employee of Chrysler’s social media agency posted from Chrysler’s twitter account:
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the (hash)motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.”
Chrysler terminated their agreement with that agency, and the tweeter was fired.
Regardless of whether you’re officially representing your company or building your own personal brand, it’s important to be aware of how what you post online affects people’s perception of you. When thinking about social media in the workplace, the CEO/Grandmother/Customer test is a great one to use before posting.
The computer / smartphone / tablet provides a false sense of anonymity. It’s as though we stop filtering what we are saying when we’re hidden behind our screen. But when you’re typing your tweet or Facebook post, imagine that each of those three people are right there, looking at you from your screen, and hearing what you’re posting as though you were telling them directly.
If I post this and my CEO or potential future employer sees it, how will it affect my job / department / relationship with my team at work? Even if you’re not posting on behalf of the company, consider your post public and think about its impact on your business relationships.
If I post this and my grandmother were to see it, would she be proud of me or disappointed? Does it fit my morals and ethics? Your posts affect how you are perceived both as a business person and as an individual. Read over your post and make sure it says what you really mean, and that you would be happy to share it with the family members you most look up to.
If I post this and my customer sees it, will they want to continue dealing with me? Will they be inspired to buy more? How will it affect our relationship? Customers buy from people they like. Does what you’re posting make you more or less likeable?
If you’re happy with the results of those 3 questions, post away!
PS – Thanks to @jonbellah for responding to my vague tweet asking for the auto industry example. I love the magic of social media!