5 Social Media Rules You Need to be Following at Work

Why can’t we be friends?

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1. Ask for aesthetic guidelines

If your company has a social media presence—who doesn’t these days—ask for visual guidelines, like Instagram filters they like to use, and brand hashtags. Particularly if you work for a creative company, your posts are contributing to a larger social media image—they should support that image, rather than work against it.

2. Don’t spill the beans

Before you post anything work-related, double (and triple!) check that you’re not sharing anything confidential, whether it’s a not-yet-announced project or your big promotion. Social media makes it all too easy to let the cat out of the bag.

3. Remember that nothing is truly private

Writing something in a “private” social space, like e-mail or direct messages, doesn’t guarantee that your post will remain under wraps. Choose your words wisely. Ivanka's personal rule of thumb is to only say in an email what you would be comfortable sharing with The New York Times—you never know (see also: the Sony email scandal).

4. Consider the line between personal and professional

As our lives are increasingly documented online, the line between work and home gets blurry. Pause before you follow your co-workers—or request to follow your boss. Think about how you use your social channels; are they just a way to share personal photos with friends, or do you use them to showcase your work? Consider the kind of work environment you’re in; would you easily call your co-workers friends, or is there a clear divide between your lives in and out of the office?

5. Know the company policy

Some big corporate companies have strict social media guidelines that explicitly state what you can and cannot post and how friendly you can get with your colleagues online. When you start a new job, make sure to ask what the policy is. Ultimately, if you’ve broken a rule, it doesn’t matter how on-brand or professional your post is.