How to protect your brand and reputation on social media
Best Practice Advice & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

How to protect your brand and reputation on social media

August 17, 2015

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

If there is one golden rule of using social media that we should constantly refer to, it is “Think before you Tweet“.  Or “Facebook”…or “Tumblr”…or post anything on any online channel.


In recent times an adviser in Australia lost his job, and possibly his career, over a a mini-rant against a politician.  The real damage was the derogatory reference to the politico’s religion.  In NZ, a journalist offended pretty much everyone recently by suggesting on social media that the death of some small children had perhaps been “natural selection”…and then we have the various “big game hunters” proudly posting photo’s of themselves and the virulent reaction globally or the senior executive with the pathetically racist tweet about probably not catching AIDS on a trip to Africa…the examples of professional self-destruction can go on and on.


By now it should be pretty well understood that a single tweet, or message of 140 characters or less, is all it takes to end a career or lose a business. For many professionals who have perhaps a few hundred or a few thousand followers that seems a rather extreme statement to make – surely one mistake might cost some fans and followers, but not an entire reputation?


I wonder how many facebook friends that dentist from Minnesota had?  Or how many LinkedIn connections?  One post however had millions around the globe talking about him, and it resulted in him having to close his practice.


The wonderful upside of social media is the viral nature of it.  That unfortunately is also it’s nasty downside. When you get something wonderfully right, then you can truly get the world talking about it.  When you get something horribly wrong, well, you can get the whole world talking about it…


seven-reasons-your-company-will-fail-without-social-media-26-638There is one thing to always remember with using social for business:

your reputation is on the line with every post.

Given the value of your reputation over your entire working career, it is not unreasonable to suggest that there are potentially millions at stake with every post.  Any prudent professional or business owner should mitigate that risk by putting in place some controls.  The key things to remember, and look to control where possible, are:


  1.  What goes online stays online (pretty much forever too).
  2.  Create some boundaries for your brand (e.g. I won’t go near politics, religion or sex as even if they are amusing or interesting topics to me, they are just too divisive and contentious).
  3.   Stay positive or stay silent. The negative, bullying trolls are pretty much hated by everyone, except for other trolls.
  4.  Your social media channel is an extension of your professional premises.  If you can’t do it in the office, then you definitely shouldn’t do it online.
  5.  Guard your reputation ferociously.  Pay attention to how staff use the social media channels (set up some google alerts to keep an eye on things), and keep an ear open for what others out there in social media-land are saying about you too.


Follow these principles and the risk of reputation damage is minimised, if not eliminated entirely.

You may also find this post useful: How to ensure you are compliant while using social media


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