Not too long ago, my mom mentioned that she noticed I had shared a political-themed video on my personal Facebook page, and that maybe I should consider not sharing that type of stuff since I owned a business. The crazy thing is, I've given that same advice to other business owners many times! But in the current highly charged political atmosphere, I had forgotten in one moment and shared a video expressing my opinion (it has since been taken down, of course). 

Why is this a mistake?

As a business owner (or any type of professional who interacts with clients or prospects), it's important to think of your image at all times, including your online image. You want to portray a professional, personable image in-person and online, and avoid controversial topics or anything that may turn a potential or existing client off. 

Of course this applies to any business social media accounts you have, but in today's highly visible social media world, unfortunately you need to keep an eye on your personal social media accounts too. Even if you don't make a habit of connecting with business contacts on your personal page, it's difficult to keep those private, so there is always a chance that a client, colleague, prospect or important business contact will see what you post. Therefore, I recommend staying on the safe side (and am taking my own, and my mother's, advice in that department too!).

Some specific advice

You may be wondering what exactly you should avoid, and what is okay to post. Here are some recommendations on specific topics and themes to avoid posting about on any social media platform that has your personal or business name, or otherwise identifies you.

  • Stay away from politics all together. This is an extremely divisive topic, especially during this current 2016 presidential election. People have strongly held opinions, and many are passionate about their beliefs. It can be difficult with so many others posting things on social media about politics, but I recommend avoiding this completely, including commenting on other people's posts. 
  • Avoid other potentially controversial topics. For example, feel free to cheer for your favorite sports team, but don't talk about how the fans of the rival team are a**holes. Essentially, think about your audience. What if your best client or a big prospect you were trying to land had the opposite opinion of your post. Would they be offended? Would they possibly think different of you?
  • Don't get too personal. Of course, you will share pictures of your friends and family. But don't use your Facebook page to vent about a fight with your spouse, or talk about how annoying your coworkers are. This could give others a bad impression of you. 

Need more social media advice?

One of the biggest social media challenges I hear is consistently finding content to post. This list of 42 social media ideas should get you started.