How Do You Want It?

How do you want it? Are you the type who goes for the basic package or the premium? Well, according to Shields, you can apply the same idea to your social media presence. And it makes a ton of sense.

When you start to realize just how much goes into strategizing an effective professional profile, your head starts to spin. You think you have one set of “if, then” rules memorized for posting etiquette, then suddenly you read ahead to the next twelve rules for good social media profile management and you admit that there is a lot more to all of this than you thought. The good news is there is a basic package subscription for people like you.

Or maybe this isn’t you at all. Maybe you long to emulate the great social media celebrities in your field. You spend all your free time analyzing how a top CEO worded their last six months’ worth of posts, and you can be the first to say how and why they strategically present different facets of themselves to different audiences all from the same platform and all for the same ultimate purpose. Well, then, there’s a premium package for you.

And, of course, there’s a standard package that fits right in the middle there somewhere. The way Shields has divided these concepts up makes it much more approachable to starting out on a new professional journey, so let’s take a look.


The Basic Model:

The lowest level of professional social media presence means that you have a presence on multiple social media platforms that is consistent, and its purpose is for branding and connecting. You have a way to connect with colleagues, prospective employees, friends, and anyone else important in your field.

When it comes to Linked-In, which many of us are least proficient in, we should have a complete profile that resembles a complete resume, and have 50 connections to seem professional and trustworthy. The bottom line for this Basic Model is that for whatever platform you choose to be on, do it completely and do it well.


The Standard Model:

The middle level of professional social media presence means that you actively engage with your network, and the primary purpose of your online presence is to share and participate. A standard presence requires you to post a photo from one of your events while also liking/sharing/endorsing content from your network and reaching out by following/friending and commenting to others’ profiles. You can create a level of authenticity this way, by showing that you are a real person with real-life aspects. This can be a powerful strategy when choosing to show your personal side when everyone knows your professional side first.

However, if you are trying to become a leader of thought in your field, then these first two models just won’t cut it.


The Premium Model:

The highest level of professional social media presence means that you actively develop unique, differentiated, and complex thoughts and media, with the primary purpose of connecting and leading. In Shields’ words, “thought leadership usually refers to content that takes a position on current industry trends, news items, and future opportunities” (262). With social media, practically anyone can try to be a thought leader—so what can you do to make yourself truly stand out as a leader? Just like in the non-tech world, you have to think uniquely and creatively. Thousands of people already have a blog discussing what you are passionate about; how can you put a different spin on it to make your message cut through the noise more effectively?

Not only can you differentiate your mission from others in the Premium Model, but you can differentiate yourself as a person by showing your audience your honesty and compassion that sets you apart. This model is the most work, but could reap the most benefit in terms of visibility.


And once you decide on your model…you still have to plan out a posting schedule and watch your analytics!



Works Cited:

Basic Package. Digital image. InstaFace Photo Booth. N.p., n.d. Web.

Premium Package. Digital image. Theme Skills. N.p., n.d. Web.

Shields, Ben. Social media management: persuasion in networked culture. New York: Oxford U Press, 2017. Print.

Standard Package. Digital image. Design Vamp. N.p., n.d. Web.



Guidelines: Why We Need Them

I work for a nonprofit organization. It’s a trendy thing to do nowadays. Odds are, you know someone who works for or volunteers with a nonprofit—there are many organizations around you that you may not even realize are nonprofits. While many people think of little grassroots community groups struggling to raise money while not earning a salary when they hear the term “nonprofit,” our own list of local organizations ranges from that grassroots end of the spectrum all the way up to long-established multi-million dollar household names like Visit Pittsburgh, UPMC, the Caring Place along with the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Zoo.

In other words, with the way our world functions today, it is increasingly important for nonprofit organizations, and we who help run them, to know how to properly market ourselves to the public on social media.

But there is another component to working in the private sector and operating social media: when you work at a nonprofit, YOU are the organization. There aren’t marketable goods like athletic shoes or the latest car design to hide your personal actions behind. The “customers” of your nonprofit are “buying” your beliefs, your behavior, your passions, your efforts. If you slip up on your own personal social media account, even if it is apart from your organization’s page, then you have tarnished the entire public image of your organization, and the public will question the beliefs of the whole system.

This is a good way to think about the content listed by Blanchard in Chapter 7, “Establishing Social Media Guidelines for the Organization,” of Social Media ROI. Organizations are not simply concerned with how their employees use their phones or computers during company time. They are concerned with how employees are conducting themselves online even in the middle of the night, due to the fact that those employees are tied to the organization and may very likely have the organization listed on their profile. If we think about personal use of social media in connection to the professional world (using nonprofit organization employees as a prime example of the close personal-professional overlap), we see how necessary it is to choose our online posting behavior carefully.

Blanchard gives us a detailed list of content to be discussed in an organization’s social media policy to employees. This goes for for-profit businesses as well as nonprofit organizations. Of the ten components, the first point is extremely important: the employee has every right to a personal social media account and has every protection of privacy. The organization cannot spy on you illegally through your personal social media. Of course, the second point allows the organization to set boundaries for use while on the clock during company time.

The guidelines for external use in the policy aim “not to impose an organization’s will on its employee’s personal use of social media. [Its] purpose is first to remind employees that the lines can easily be blurred between their official role for the company and the personal opinions they may express online outside of business hours and, second, to help them best negotiate this sometimes tricky area without getting themselves or their employers in trouble” (Blanchard 123). This is where it is so important to understand that when you are connected to an organization, you represent them 24/7, not just 9-5. In the same vein, if employees are going to discuss their organization online, they must disclose that they work for them. Failure to comply with this guideline can lead into ugly legal battles.

And, speaking of legal battles, employees should know about anti-defamation guidelines to avoid legal battles with offended outside parties. Employees need to be thoroughly educated on the terms “libel,” “slander,” and “defamation” so as not to make false statements about others. At the same time, they cannot share private information relating to the organization over social media.

social media how rude

To avoid conflicts like this altogether, an organization’s policy should include a section where employees simply agree to be kind to one another online and to pledge not to engage in online bullying.

The end of the document should include a list of resources for employees and a note to external partners about agreeing to these policies.

When you think about the numerous ways in which one individual’s behavior can affect the public image of an organization, it becomes that much more important for each of us to display ourselves appropriately on social media, the most public of all platforms

social media love job


Blanchard, Olivier. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Indianapolis: Que Pub., 2011. Print.

How Rude. Digital image. HRpockets. N.p., n.d. Web. <;.

I Love My Job. Digital image. We Heart It. N.p., n.d. Web. <;.