I spoke earlier about identifying your brand as a paramedic on social media, and the importance of clarifying your mission, values and vision.
You’ve identified these, and created your brand to reflect them. You’ve used your real name, a consistent language across all platforms, a professional-looking photo, and a consistent headline or description. Right?
What now? You need to protect this brand – here are some general guidelines to avoid brand damage when using social media. I’ll use the generic term post to mean sharing something on a social network such as Twitter or Facebook.
- Don’t post anything when you’re tired, drunk or angry.
- If your post involves details about a patient, ensure it won’t breach confidentiality or your employer’s policies.
- Don’t post when driving!
- Be careful not to ‘overshare’ personal information, unless you’ve identified this as a core part of your brand. This can be risky.
- If your post is potentially offensive, rethink sharing it. Remember, it is very easy to be misinterpreted online, so it may not be immediately obvious if your post is offensive.
- Pose the evening news test – if this post were to end up on the evening news, how would you feel? How would this affect your brand? Your job? Your family?
- Remember it’s not just content that you create that can influence your brand – be aware of your actions in public and online – your brand goes much further than your online behaviour.
- Ensure your privacy settings on social networks are set to keep any sensitive content private (if that is truly possible) – a safe rule is never to post, share or upload anything that could damage your brand even if it is set to ‘private’.
- If you’re in any doubt – don’t post it!
- Google yourself – you need to know what someone will find when they search for you. If you have an unusual name this can be easy. If not, then you need to be aware that your brand could get mixed up with someone elses.
I’ll end with some sage advice from Richard Smith in the BMJ in 2012: “Don’t be banal, self-promote excessively, share confidential material (especially about patients), be a troll, break the law, commit a libel or overdo it” and Farris Timimi of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media in 2012: “Don’t lie, don’t pry; don’t cheat, can’t delete; don’t steal, don’t reveal”.