Many of us are familiar with the basics of “how to interact socially online.” However, it’s easier to inadvertently commit faux pas when using the internet work instead of pleasure. Where do you draw the line? What’s considered appropriate? How do you create a professional online presence? Read on to find some tips on delivering a great first impression, managing your personal brand, and networking with confidence.


If you’re hesitant about posting something… wait.


When using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or any other networking site as a business tool, it’s important to think twice before posting something personal. For example, does that joke really land, or would it make potential colleagues uncomfortable? Are you guilty of oversharing? If you count business associates in your online circle, it’s best not to use your platform as a confessional outlet. If you’re unsure about posting a picture, status, or link, wait a few hours. If you still have the impulse to post and think it’s prudent, proceed!


Add value.


Social media is a wonderful thing. It can bring people all over the world together, facilitate important dialogue, and even brighten your day with a funny meme or cute cat picture. However, it can also breed narcissism and banality. Resist the urge to flood your profile with selfies, dinner updates, and other noise.


Instead, add value to your followers lives by posting helpful links, interesting articles, and other informative, inspiring content. Your business colleagues will benefit from your daily postings, and they’ll perceive you as a generous, informed individual.


Follow, like, and interact with people who follow you.


If a co-worker is generous with their time and “likes,” it’s important reciprocate. Along with adding value, it’s crucial that you show support and friendship to your Facebook followers. In real life, you’d compliment a friend on their lovely dress or their witty sense of humor. Do the same in cyberspace, and you’ll create a cycle of good will.


Stay Positive


Everybody has a bad day now and then. Although it’s tempting to project your pain, frustration, and sadness out into the ether, refrain from doing so! If it helps, think of your online persona as a brand. Ask yourself if the image you’re creating reflects the person you want to be. If you truly need an outlet for your woes, consider writing in a journal or calling a friend. You don’t need your business associates thinking of you as a Debbie Downer. And above all, never vent about work online. It can come back to haunt you, and you could even lose your job. Keep those thoughts to yourself. Be a ray of sunshine and positivity instead!


Consider Multiple Accounts


If you simply can’t refrain from posting bizarre things on your wall and sharing personal information with your friends, opt for two profiles–one for work and one for close friends. Make the more professional profile with your full name, and use a nickname for your close-circle account. That way, you can network like a pro AND share all the weird beyonce mashups you want! Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too?


So what are some of your social media, face-saving strategies? Leave your suggestions and war stories in the comments. Happy networking!