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5 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Reputation

5 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Reputation
Image credit: This Bird Flies

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ allow us to connect with the players in our market. But, when used improperly, social media can be a dangerous platform for entrepreneurs to ruin their reputations.

Here are five ways social media users can destroy their online rep, and tips for steering clear of these costly mistakes:

1. Boring posts. A boring post is anything that lacks your unique personality or perspective. Giving a fresh perspective on an old topic or going against the status quo is what gets noticed.

So ask yourself how you can infuse your own character or sense of humor within each post. This is the essence of branding. The last thing you want to be is forgettable.

Related: 7 Key Habits of Super Networkers

2. Disrespecting others. Social media is not the place to work out your problems with people. It's no different than yelling insults at someone in public or raising your voice at a retail store employee. Yes it gets peoples' attention, but that's not the kind of attention you want.

Unfortunately, the higher you climb in social media, the more people will want to throw stones at you. But don't retaliate publicly. Simply delete the negative comment, block the person and then decide if you want to address the issue privately, or just move on.

3. Failing to promote others. When it comes to building your business and developing a powerful network, you'll want to develop a reputation as someone who highlights others. Not only does this give credit where credit is due, it also communicates that you're secure with your success and have the ability to promote others in your industry.

Some effective ways to highlight others:

  • When someone gives you a great piece of advice, post it on Facebook or Twitter and tag that person.
  • Utilize the Endorsements feature on LinkedIn and begin endorsing people within your network.

Related: Got a Bad Yelp Review? Here's What to Do

4. Not replying to comments. Not replying to comments on your blog or over social media is no different than starting a conversation with someone and then ignoring their response. Actively monitoring comments and questions on every post can be time consuming, but even posting one follow-up comment per post can show you care and that you're engaged.

5. Being tagged in questionable photos. Most everyone has been captured in a photo that should be titled, "This is not how it looks." As funny as some photos can be, think twice about allowing yourself to be tagged in questionable photos. As a business owner, be mindful of how you want to be perceived publicly. Untag or delete yourself from any inappropriate photos.

Your best ally in creating an image that attracts the right kind of people and attention is to simply use common sense, which usually not so common. As long as you're consistently infusing your unique style and communicating with the same class that you would in public, you'll do just fine.

What would you say are the biggest social media blunders to avoid? Let us know in the comments below.

A former professional athlete, New York City-based Lewis Howes is co-author of LinkedWorking (418 Press, 2009) and creator of the LinkedInfluence training program.

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