A surprising amount of people don’t know how to clean up Facebook risk factors on their account and that leads to big problems down the line.
Think we’re joking? Consider this…
When it comes to building your personal brand online, the social media profiles and personal websites that you optimize determine the success of your online presence, and how that translates into successes in your real life. Regardless of your industry, there are certain profiles that we strongly recommend because they tend to rank well, and because so many people interact on those platforms.
While Facebook is usually associated with finding your friends, it’s also a place where employers, colleagues, clients, and partners will look for you. This is why it’s extremely important that you learn how to clean up Facebook accounts that you control (both personal and business).
Since its founding in 2004, Facebook has grown to be the most popular social network worldwide. In the US, the Facebook audience in 2017 amounted to 214 million users and is growing (Statista).
While Facebook used to be a networking site for college students only, today it’s a place to connect with people from all facets of your life and expand your network. Because Facebook is no longer just for friends that means that you have to regularly audit what it is that you’re sharing on the platform. Not only that, you also need to monitor what people you associate with are posting.
In this post, we’ll show you the most effective ways to perform your very own Facebook clean up.
Why it’s important to clean up Facebook
Facebook cleanup is an easy task to push aside. It doesn’t really matter – right? Wrong. Social media is now an integral part of all online screening processes. That means that a poorly managed Facebook account has the power to negatively impact you in the real world. On the flip side, a polished Facebook profile that reinforces positive factors about you can open doors.
Whether it’s a regrettable post you wrote after a night out back in college, an embarrassing video someone tagged you in, or a comment taken out of context – your Facebook profile is a potential liability if you’re not careful. And remember, consequences for your Facebook presence can surface at any point in your career.
Whether you’re applying to college, have been working for a few years, or are a C-level executive, your Facebook presence matters! While many of the cases that make headlines can seem like fairly obvious examples of posting outrageous comments or content on Facebook, subtler posts that fall into the grey area of what is or is not appropriate to post also damage people’s careers and opportunities.
Cleaning up your Facebook account can prevent you from getting fired, rejected or generally damaging your professional and personal life.
It also forces you to re-examine your relationship with your account’s privacy settings. Some people think that by engaging in “private” or “semi-private” exchanges, they can be unfiltered. Unfortunately, that’s a myth. Even if you have on all of your privacy settings, there’s always a chance that it could be exposed.
Remember, screenshots exist.
That’s why we suggest that people think of their presence on social media platforms like Facebook as being fully public (in spite of the privacy settings).
BrandYourself’s DIY reputation management software
Cleaning up your Facebook account may seem overwhelming at first – but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
At BrandYourself, we’ve spent thousands of hours researching, designing and developing cutting-edge technology to help our users build the personal brand they need to get what they want.
We’ve created a comprehensive way to clean up, protect and improve your online reputation. By signing up for our DIY online reputation management software, you’ll have access to our proprietary technology with the option to go through the full Facebook clean up process using our Reputation Builder.
To see if you need to clean up your Facebook, get your free Reputation Report here. Not only will you get information about your Facebook risk factors, you’ll also find your overall Reputation Score (think a credit score for how you look online), negative search results for your name, flagged social media posts, how your presence is helping or hurting your earned income and what to do about it.
Start with the free version of the DIY software to scan and audit your overall online presence, but upgrade to unlock access to all Premium features and view all flagged content when you connect and scan your Facebook account.
In addition to viewing all flagged content, deleting flagged posts from our DIY dashboard, and scanning at will, Premium membership comes with a host of additional benefits listed here.
Key things to look for during a Facebook clean up
Whether you choose to use BrandYourself’s software or not, we suggest that you find and remove the following types of comments, posts, status updates, pictures, videos, etc. if you don’t want your Facebook account to keep you from landing the next promotion, job, client, or opportunity. Once you’ve connected your accounts, the software will show you how to clean up Facebook risk factors such as:
- Derogatory Language
This refers to discriminatory terms or remarks towards race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or any other indication of intolerance towards other groups of people.
- Unprofessional Work or School Behavior
Keep an eye out for any comments, pictures, “jokes”, videos or things you’ve shared that relate to behaving inappropriately at work or school. Or any disparaging remarks about your job, boss, coworkers, company, clients, fellow students, teachers, principal, administrators or school. Don’t share evidence of shirking your responsibilities at work or school. This is a surprisingly common mistake that many people make on Facebook.
- Violence or Bullying
Look for any examples where you use hostile speech, insult others, threaten people or utilize aggressive language. Even if you exhibit signs of violence or bullying in jest, remember that this may not be obvious to someone who doesn’t know you and is looking for red flags.
- Irresponsible Drinking or Drug Use
This includes examples of excessive drinking, getting wasted, recklessly partying, talking about illegal drugs, talking about prescription drugs, and more. And remember, depending on your particular professional or academic situation any evidence of drinking or drug use could be enough to shut you out of an opportunity.
- Criminal Behavior
While criminal behavior can vary in nature, whether a prank goes wrong or you are into serious illegal behavior – employers and admissions officers alike have no tolerance for people flaunting these kinds of decisions. Employers list criminal behavior as a top reason to not hire candidates.
- Sexually Explicit
Whether it’s a “joke” or an accidental post, employers and admissions view talking about sexual behavior, genitals, porn, or any other sexually charged content that could make someone feel uncomfortable at work as a red flag.
- Unprofessional Communication Style
This includes profanity, derogatory language and other examples of unprofessional language. Pay attention to spelling and grammar, as well as informal language or slang. While it’s true, how you talk to your friends is (and probably should be) different from how you speak to your boss, your friends are not the only audience for your Facebook account. Keep that in mind as you review your account. It’s not just about profanity. And please keep in mind, we don’t think that informal language or spelling errors are an indictment of you, but you should be aware that these are the kinds of things that employers and admissions officers use as red flags.
While you may have some leeway with what you look for and how strict you are when cleaning up your Facebook account (depending on your industry), it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you find something questionable – just delete it. And remember… inside jokes don’t usually translate very well, so make sure that you audit your Facebook account for that too.
Why You Should Avoid Using A Bulk Facebook Cleaner
While the idea of a Facebook Cleaner is great in theory, unfortunately there are some serious downsides. Most Facebook cleaners are known for working in bulk. That means that while the user saves time by not going through each individual post, they’re likely deleting content that could help them too. The expression, “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” comes to mind.
While it’s true, you’re getting rid of damaging content, there’s a significant chance that you’ll also delete posts that are actually fine (because they were flagged incorrectly), or only need a few minor tweaks in order to help you.
While deleting some old posts may not seem like a big deal to you – some posts can improve your online reputation and help you achieve your professional goals, so deleting those is essentially self-sabotage.
And with a bulk Facebook cleaner, you won’t even realize it once you’ve deleted a post that was high-quality, engaging and helping you. And you won’t be able to get it back.
In addition to the problem with imprecision when it comes to using a bulk Facebook cleaner, there’s the additional concern of effectiveness and security. Unfortunately, there have been issues in the past with Facebook cleaner tools either not working, or worse being hacked for malicious intent. This means that third parties can gain access to your account, scrape and spam your friends, copy your photos, and cause even more damage.
If you’re focused on building an online brand that helps you professionally and personally, use a smart cleanup tool that identifies what’s hurting you and shows you how to build on the content that is helping you.
BrandYourself’s DIY online reputation management software lets you scan, clean up, protect and improve your online reputation. Our software even offers a Facebook cleaner that lets you go through each individually flagged post and decide whether you want to keep it or delete it. And with features like the Reputation Score and Reputation Builder, you’ll have an easy way to see how your personal brand is doing, and what steps to take next for the highest possible impact on your overall online reputation.
Your Next Steps For Cleaning Up Facebook
Once you’ve signed up for BrandYourself’s DIY software and scanned your account, you still may need to take additional steps to not only clean up your Facebook account, but to optimize it. Remember, people who could help your professional and academic careers are not only looking for red flags to disqualify you, but for positive factors that reinforce their choice to work with you.
BrandYourself’s software will walk you step-by-step to help you build a website and social properties that will take your personal brand to the next level.
Take some time exploring all of our DIY software’s features. Some steps are one-time only, but others must be taken regularly to keep your properties fresh over time – your unique Action Plan shows you the easiest steps to take that will have the greatest impact on your personal brand.
Creating a desirable personal brand goes way beyond cleaning up your Facebook account, and our software shows you how to do it. You can also learn more by reading our guide to Personal Branding.
However, if you don’t have time to maintain your personal brand online after the Facebook clean up process let the experts in our Managed Services department build and manage your online presence for you.
Get in touch with a Reputation Advisor to learn about your options. Give us a call at (646)-863-8226, or schedule a consultation.