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Your Brand & Social Media: Navigating the Tricky Terrain of Social Media as an Employee

Estee Lauder just fired one of its most senior executives, John Demsey, over a racial slur he posted on Instagram. He was with the company a startling 31 years, earned $9.6 million annually, and is credited with building the brand with its acquisitions of MAC and Clinique. Yet, boom! His career was over in an instant.

The case of John Demsey is unique; he was just an employee. We’ve witnessed backlash against celebrities, but they are “one-man brands.” Think about Kevin Hart and not hosting the Oscars over homophobic tweets or Morgan Wallen trying to distance himself from a video in which he used racist language.

As we’ve all learned the hard way social media is permanent; once it’s posted, it lives in perpetuity. So, the question is what should you post?

Here’s my mantra:

If in doubt, leave it out!

Questions to Ask Before You Post

If you’re an employee, make sure you ask yourself the following questions before you post:

  1. Does my Posting Violate the Company’s Social Media Policy? – Huge employers often have clear guidelines. Best Buy sums up its policy this way: “Basically, if you find yourself wondering if you can talk about something you learned at work – don’t.”

  2. Would You Be Happy If Your Boss Read It? – If you are thinking it might be cringe-worthy, it is. If you think it’s a little radical, it is. Would you be content if your mom read it?

  3. Will the post come back to bite you? - If you are a job seeker or have huge career aspirations, remember that political postings will always offend someone. 90% of recruiters and hiring managers review a potential candidate’s social media presence, and 69% rejected a candidate based on content found on social media sites. Think twice before you post.

  4. Is it Consistent with your Brand? – Posting risqué photos when your brand is all about being a trusted lawyer, for example, will surely backfire and cost you dearly. I recommend that you create a list of topics you will and will not cover; therefore it takes all of the decision-making out of the equation later on.

Social media is a key part of our lives. Navigate the terrain wisely making sure everything you post is consistent with your brand.

To your sizzling success,


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