How to use Facebook as a professional tool

Spoiler: This is not a judgmental post! It is strictly aimed at our professional image based on true reality and does not reflect any personal opinion.

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I always see translators using Facebook as if there were no tomorrow. I mean, they simply do not think before publishing anything publicly, to absolutely anyone who is their friend.

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I like to think of Facebook like real life, but on-line. Do you wear mini-skirts and speak bad language in church? Well, although I am not the most religious person out there, I do hope you do not do that. Do you behave with your parents or treat them the same way you treat your closest friends? Do you speak to them the same way? I am positively sure you do not do that. You may drink A LOT at a wild party and even end up in hospital, but your mom or your boss will not even dream that has happened, right? So why… why, oh, why do people do not follow those same society rules on-line? Yeah, yeah, I know, the page is yours so you do whatever you want with it. Yeah, right. But then do not complain about your professional reputation being damaged because of your personal behavior on-line. You can certainly do whatever you want, but you should not share everything with absolutely all your Facebook friends. You could lose a potential client because of that. Think about it.

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Just like in real life, social media also has its best practices, if you do not want people judging you by the cover (literally). Therefore, choose your profile picture carefully. Of course it would be fantastic to have it taken by a professional, but it is not essential. Choose one where your face can be easily recognizable, no sunglasses, not taken by faraway. Your profile is yours, right? So why use a picture of your cat/dog/bird/husband/wife/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever-you-like? Also, be careful with the position the picture is taken. If it is taken from above and you are wearing a low-cut blouse, it may look vulgar. (Before judging the previous sentence, please read the spoiler in the top again.)

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The same holds true for pictures in general. The difference is, for pictures added in albums, as well as other general posts on your timeline, you can control who has access to them. So, bottom line is, yes, you can publish anything you feel like publishing, provided that you separate them by lists.

The chunk of my presentation was to explain how to create lists, send friends to those lists and restrict your posts using them. I already covered this step by step in a blog post, How to manage your Facebook friends like a pro, so I will not repeat it here. Read it and, should you have any doubts, do let me know.

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When sharing some article or post you found on the internet, always check the source. Make sure it is reliable and not something made up or some gossip. Also, I always read the article before sharing it, because the title can be misleading, and the content itself may contain something you do not agree with, for example. I do not like sharing texts with poorly written content either, for example, with grammar mistakes, typos and the like. The content itself may be fantastic, but the way it is written can affect your image, because whether you like it or not, you are sort of endorsing what you are sharing. So be extra careful.

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Topics that involve religion, football and politics are always controversial, even in real life, right? People usually try to avoid them in conversations. Do the same on social media. Avoid or carefully restrict controversial topics. If you have a strong opinion on politics, for example, that is totally against your potential client’s strong opinion, it may affect their decision to contact you for a job or not. Unfortunately, that is the naked truth. And since we have plenty of friends on Facebook and we even end up unfollowing some of them, we may lose track of who is following us or not, and we can simply forget we are friends with that person. It happens a lot with me.

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I also briefly mentioned about the difference between a profile and a page. I have a personal profile and a professional page. Both are different and serve different purposes. I usually like saying people will not be friends with your brand, but like and follow it. Besides having analytics information about your followers, you have plenty of other functionalities you do not have in a profile. For example, you can add action buttons, your working hours, a customized link, among others. In the presentation, I mentioned how I was able to add “Tradutor” (translator) right below my page name. Many people asked me how I was able to do that, so I decided to give it a special mention. However, unfortunately, they have changed it in the past weeks. Now, your username is displayed right below your name. Anyway, you can choose how you want it to be displayed, and your customized URL will be created accordingly. Well, play around with your own page on the About tab and find out everything you can add. Remember, should you have any doubts, do let me know. 😉

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You can find the PowerPoint presentation of my talk on SlideShare.

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