Managing Your Social Media Mullet — Part 1

According to Wikipedia, a mullet is a unisex hair style that is short in the front and long in the back. The mullet began making appearances in the popular media in the 1960s and 1970s but did not catch on with the masses until the early 1980s.  I first wrote about “the social media mullet” in 2009.  It’s a foundation piece of my keynote speeches, social media training sessions, and my book.

Business professionals, entrepreneurs, and job seekers can learn from those that sport this fashionable cut when managing their online and social media based personal brand.  A popular saying when describing a mullet comes to mind:

Business in the front. Party in the back.

Social media is a conversation not unlike the phone you just finished or the networking mixer you attended last night.  Conversations happen that are guided by a mix of personal yet professional topics.  There are social norms and understandings that are relied upon when it comes to voice to voice or in person contact.  And many forget that when it comes to social media as well as the internet, that these “social norms” do not apply.

Business in the Front

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, and Twitter are great mediums in which to develop relationships and grab the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Share your expertise and lead with the business in all you do. Your posts, pictures, and tweets should be at least 70% business related. Lead with interesting articles, tidbits, and information that is industry specific or related to the job in which you currently work or aspire to.

Social media is a form of communication, a channel in which to use to communicate your message.  And people respond to these messages differently because social media isn’t about sending and receiving your message, it’s about the conversations, content, and information flow that you aren’t disseminating as well as your interactions with those that see you and your business as a information source and a value add.

Party in the Back

The remaining 30% of your social media content can be related to your personal side but be wary. I have visited FaceBook profiles with one too many drunk pictures and tweets leading me to search for talent elsewhere. If you are unsure if something is inappropriate, ask yourself if your mother would approve. Social media is all about interacting and developing relationships. I encourage you to tweet or post comments seeking input and feedback from others. Commonalities make you interesting which lead to engaging conversations with persons from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Depending on your business, industry, and personal comfort level, mullet sizes (your party in the back) vary.  My social media mullet has a lot of party in the back.  It’s what I’m known for and that is my ability to be very open about my life, family, and personal as well as professional struggles.  Not everyone has the willingness to share, and that’s okay.  My mullet is based on the foundational principle of pushing people to what I call comfortable yet necessary places, and to be uncomfortable that means pushing the envelope just a teenie, tiny bit.  Your however, might be completely different.

Your social media mullet size, style, and length will vary.  And that’s okay.  It’s what makes social media social.  It’s not a science but a journey helping you to learn as well as define your business and brand one tweet, blog, or Facebook post at a time.

This is a four part series on time management when it comes to social media.  This means understanding your voice, and learning techniques to maintain a social media presence without selling you or your brand’s soul.   Check out Part 2 Social Media CYA

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Comments

  1. First off, fantastic metaphor. You do a credit to rhetoric.

    I’d never argue that at present, this is a necessary step to take – an important thing to consider and manage, Companies do check social media, and Google the people they think of hiring, and we all have to deal with that. No argument there.

    My question is: should they?
    (I’m talking theoretically here – I know, you know, and my cat knows that companies will always make value judgements based on things they see online, and that’s just the way things are. )

    Should a company be allowed to make a hiring decision based on your personal life? Is this ethical?

    At present, a company is not allowed to discriminate based on age, race, sex, orientation etc. We know they do – but they’re not “allowed to” because it’s unfair.

    Is it different if a person likes to do beer bongs on Saturday nights while dressed up as superman and surrounded by stuffed animals? Will they be less good at their job? Is there way to determine that that doesn’t involve making assumptions that cannot be proven until tested?

    Should a person be obligated to keep things they do private, or should they have the choice based on their own comfort level?

    I think this is really interesting food for thought.

    Reply
    • Megan,

      Interesting questions. In the world of HR and corporate business, it’s not really about what is unethical but illegal. I don’t see anything wrong ethically speaking about companies checking public social media profiles. People post these out on the internet for the world to see. It makes sense to me that employers would seek these out and use them as a source of information so long as it didn’t violate any type of employment law.

      Would you not view yelp or a consumer product comment before making a large purchase? Your answer is likely no. Of course you would check the reviews, read the comments, and get a lay of the land as part of your pre-purchase research.

      Employees are a company’s largest expense and also their biggest risk. Why wouldn’t they do their research to also make sure that their largest purchase wasn’t a dud and had glowing consumer references and reviews.

      If you don’t want things to be found on the internet used in the hiring and employment process, it’s best to not post these things online. Monitor the internet for your name and information to help manage your image online. You want to keep the good reviews rising to the top.

      Thanks for the questions and the comment.

      JMM

      Reply

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