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4 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Reputation

ImageToday, more than 15 million businesses and organizations have Facebook pages. If you own a business, you're probably one of these.

Social media is a great way to promote brand awareness and enhance relationships with consumers. That being said, if it's not executed properly, social media usage can actually damage your reputation. Here are a few ways social media can ruin your reputation.

Inappropriate Photos Display a Bad Image

Your company Christmas party got a little out of hand? You better think twice about posting those photos on your professional page. You might be laughing about the good times now, but your laughter will come to an abrupt halt once the photos ruin your good name.

One article reports on how an entire police station faced embarrassment after one officer posted a photo online. In the photo, the officer allowed four girls in bikinis to pose on his police cruiser during a charity car wash. The police department fired him.

Be wary of what you post on your page and what your employees are posting about work on their private pages. It could cost you your company's reputation.

Your Attempt to be Relevant Could Backfire

One way people get attention on social media outlets is by talking about recent events in their community and the news. One such celebrity who utilized this tactic on Twitter was Gilbert Gottfried. When the Japanese tsunami hit, Gottfried took the opportunity to make some unbelievably offensive jokes, such as "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them.'" and "My Japanese doctor advised me to stay healthy I need 50 million gallons of water a day." This tactic backfired spectacularly, and Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac duck, was almost immediately fired. This lead to a nationwide campaign by Aflac to find the next voice of the famous duck.

Your Words Can Come Back to Haunt You

Anything you say in the real world can quickly be posted on social media. Thing about social media is that it can make things quickly go viral. That is, explode onto the internet for the world to see. If you make one hiccup and say the wrong thing, it can quickly spread across social media like the plague and shatter your reputation.

Recently, a quote from Abercrombie and Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, found its way onto social media. Basically, he said that he only wanted popular, beautiful people wearing his clothes. Roger Dooley reports that people across the country began throwing out their Abercrombie clothes, vowing never to wear them again. He also says that sales dropped 15 percent, which the CEO blames on inventory shortages. Coincidence? Who knows.

But what you don't know about this ordeal is that Mike Jeffries actually said these things six years ago! It was social media that blew it up and spread it like a wildfire.

In short, be careful what you say, both on and off the Internet. Social media could catch onto it, even years later.

Your Personal Profiles Could Leak Onto Your Professional Ones

Most people draw a line between their professional profiles and their personal profiles, but sometimes it's not so easy. reports that one employee who worked for a marketing company thought that they were posting on their own Twitter account when they were actually logged into a profile the company managed for Chrysler. They wrote the following unfortunate tweet:

"I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive."

The company fired the employee.

If you're a business owner, everything you post, even on your private pages, reflects your company's reputation. Be careful what you post online, even if you set your page to private.

Now that you have an idea of the types of posts that could ruin your business's reputation, try to stay away from these things and be wary about what image your business is portraying online. On the other hand, social media can land your dream job if you use it correctly. So happy tweeting everyone!

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