There is a very high percentage of people that use social media. This number ranges in age from our kids (usually 10 years of age and up) all the way to our parents.
The opportunity to connect with personal and business contacts is at an all-time high. Facebook is a great resource for staying connected with family and reconnecting with old friends.
From a career standpoint, LinkedIn is a perfect place to connect with colleagues, find jobs, learn from other entrepreneurs, find resources and all things business related.
While social media provides opportunities for relationship building, people often find themselves in uncomfortable situations with connections.
When you create a profile you are opening yourself up to friend requests from strangers, undesirable postings, and many other issues.
Creating Boundaries is a major way to control as much of that as you can.
The rules of engagement online are exactly the same as in-person. Just as we set boundaries with friends we see in person on a regular basis, we have to set healthy boundaries with our online connections as well.
Use your profile to set boundaries. Not only do you want to do this in your settings (and check often that they haven’t changed in any way) but you also want to do this with who you accept to your page and what you post. For instance on Facebook are you going to have a personal page for friends and family and a business page for clients? Or are you going to let clients onto your personal page? Are you careful what you are posting? You don’t want clients to see last weekend’s hangover post;)
On your business page set the tone by using a professional profile picture. The way you word your description should also be business-focused. Your posts should center on professional topics. You can share personal things on this page as well if appropriate but base it on your audience. Do they want to see the fun side of you or only the business side? Some entrepreneurs can get away with the wild and crazy side showing through if it is their personality and their followers are looking for that in the business side of them too. If you are more buttoned up, doing that type of post is going to set up big red flags for your followers. You need to be real and true to your personality because otherwise people will see right through the façade and you will lose clients.
Be sure not to post things on your wall that you wouldn’t want others posting. Don’t gossip if you don’t want to hear it from others. Don’t vent about personal issues if you don’t want everyone to ask what happened. Be selective in what you put out there and remember that once it is out there you can’t take it back!
You do not have to accept all friend/connection requests. You are responsible for the people you accept. The quality of your social media experience is directly related to the quality of the network your build. You can always
“unfriend” from people also. If they are posting things that you don’t agree with, simply unfriend them. You don’t have to put them down because we are all entitled to our opinion but simply take them out of your vision.
There may be times when a friend/connection asks you for a favor out of turn. If someone asks you for a business referral and you have never worked with them, saying no is perfectly acceptable. You never want to refer someone without knowledge of what they can or cannot come through with. That will end up on you and that is not something you want to have happen. It can damage relationships that you have worked hard at building up.
Social media is about people, not technology. The purpose of connecting with people is to create mutually beneficial relationships. Be of service to your connections. Post helpful information, provide feedback on topics they have
talked about and make introductions to other people if you think it would be of benefit for them to know each other. Enforcing boundaries doesn’t have to be a hard thing. You can give more to those you truly feel connected to than you can worrying about the people that you really don’t care for or that don’t care for you.