by Steven Skrzypek, Content Creation Specialist

It’s that time of year — everyone is coming up with ideas to try and make their lives better by creating New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, read more, or give up any of the several vices we as humans love to indulge in. The arrival of a new year is seen as a clean slate; an opportunity to craft a better self. Your social media presence is a reflection of your self, so this is also the perfect time to tune up your practices for a better digital reputation. Here are five tips to help keep your social media game as healthy as you’re trying to be in 2016.

1. Clean up inactive accounts

You boxed up the holiday decorations, vacuumed up the tinsel, and are dead set to keep everything tidy. Now, utilize this mindset online. If you or your business has inactive profiles customers may be trying to reach you on these accounts and growing dissatisfied with your brand because of a lack of response. Now is your chance to either disable these accounts or take the necessary steps to make them    active again. Take into account your target demographic and what platforms most appeal to them. Keep the ones that do and put some work behind the; toss the one that don’t.

2. Stop over-sharing

Every office has that one person who gives too many details about their off-the-clock life. It’s not only irritating; it’s unprofessional. Over sharing on social media is the same. Whether you’re detailing too much information via your personal social media accounts or polluting your followers’ feeds with too many promotional posts   via your business’s profiles, it isn’t engaging, it’s annoying. Also, constant updates           can have potential employers or clients questioning what you’re actually doing all day when you should be working.

3. Avoid polarizing topics

A lot of people think because they can voice their opinion on a topic, they should.    Unfortunately, most trending topics out there can be incredibly polarizing and creating a stance through your business or personal accounts can alienate clients and potential employers—not to mention cause yourself a huge headache by attracting trolls. Even if your personal profile has great privacy settings, comments on other             pages are always visible. Stick to neutral, informative posts that are industry relevant and leave the politics to be discussed amongst close friends.

4. Be careful what you click for

You may not realize that the pages and articles that you “like” are shared with anyone who follows you. While you may not be penning missives about controversial topics, liking or sharing an article that reflects the sentiment will imply that opinion is yours. Furthermore, if you want to keep your clients’ identities private, avoid interacting with their social media with your professional accounts. Even a few double-taps on Instagram can leave a trail of breadcrumbs that competitors can follow to uncover your client base.

5. Create a page for your professional life

Some people are adamant about voicing their unfiltered views on issues to family and friends or want to share personal pictures that have no business being public. However, you still want to utilize social media for networking and customer service reasons. Consider creating a separate account for your professional persona. There you can curate content that accurately reflects your brand and create a soundboard for relevant topics. Just be sure your existing personal accounts have their privacy settings set to their most secure.

If your 2015 year in review showcases some of these ill-advised practices, it doesn’t mean your gaffes have to haunt you for years to come. Contact us today and we’ll talk about improving your digital reputation in 2016 and beyond.