How an Online Rant Can Impact Your Personal Brand

August 2, 2017

11:30 am

The traffic was terrible, the coffee order was wrong, the AC is out, your client is late on a payment, and your inbox is overflowing – what a way to start the day. In the emotion of it all, you grab your phone, open social media, and let it rip.

While this stress relief might have felt great at the time, it could be the worst thing you could have done for your personal brand. In a recent study by Domain.ME, a secure domain name provider, 66 percent of Americans, including 84 percent of Millennials, regret something they’ve posted online.

Regardless of the social platform, we’ve witnessed, or possibly contributed to, a rant. Truth be told, the most common rants these days involve political opinions, and complete strangers are getting into arguments with each other every day online. What people need to realize is that your digital footprint, reputation, character assessment, and business growth are impacted by what you say and do online.

Is There Such Thing as a Good Rant?

Rants by definition are emotion-based. People don’t just go off on a topic unless it touches a personal nerve. The question is whether there is such a thing as a good rant and how it can impact one’s brand.

Carrie Morgan, award-winning author and digital strategist said, “Any post based on strong emotion can be considered a rant and strong emotion triggers the same in others. Deciding if a rant is good or bad often isn’t about the rant itself, but whether it will bring out positivity or negativity in others.”

Beth McRae, president of McRae Agency said there really isn’t such a thing as a good rant.

“Good rants shouldn’t really be rants, but maybe something like sending kudos for a job well done or a shout out to an organization for a job well done,” Beth said.

How one perceives the rant should be a core concern before one posts and weigh the impact it will have on one’s brand.

“How a rant is perceived depends on dozens of factors outside of our control – timing, political and news climate, attitudes of one’s followers, even time of day or week,” Carrie said. “If it is a rant, consider how it will be perceived, then think about the worst-case scenario of a troll reaction, then post it if the risk is something you are comfortable with.”

Gaining Customers

It’s not just a trend, more consumers are choosing to do business with likable brands with good people leading the charge. Specifically for the 75 million Millennial consumers out there, they are more inclined to buy products from companies with a social conscious and ethical leadership.

“People do business with those they like and trust, from a personal and brand viewpoint. Every action on social media should be intentional to attract and build the specific target audience most likely to grow your business. Every single post on personal social media can impact reputation for the individual and the business,” Carrie said.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Don’t kid yourself, employees are also watching your social feed, and they too build impressions of who you are and could decide whether to stay at the company based on your social interactions.

“Even the most personal social media profile is still a public platform that broadcasts your ‘voice’ and character to the world. It can be immensely revealing to spend a half hour looking at what they see,” Carrie said.

Post Posting Remorse

Hours later, you might regret posting what you said and decide to delete it. The problem is, it’s not actually deleted and you’ve run the risk of someone taking a screenshot, taking offense, or developing a perception about your character.

“Sometimes we label something a rant to give ourselves permission for an emotional outburst, and that’s rarely a good thing. Pay attention to what [you’re] doing before you hit the ‘post’ button,” Carrie said.

 

“Bad rants negatively impact the brand, plus they never go away. They are online forever,” Beth said.

Before You Press Post, Read This

When you feel the blood boiling and feel the need to let it all out, before you do, read this advice from our experts.

From Beth
  • Any political rant is a bad rant
  • Any rant that uses swear words, off color or discriminatory language or any other offensive language is a terrible idea
From Carrie
  • Never, never, never post something you wouldn’t say in person during a face-to-face conversation
  • Any post that’s highly emotional deserves breathing room before it is published
  • Your privacy setting can only protect you so much
  • Put your post aside for a few hours and go back to it before you post
  • The instant relief is not worth the potential impact and impulsive personal behavior doesn’t belong on a public venue.

“Whether it’s a personal brand that current/potential employers see, or clients who follow your personal brand, what you choose to post on social media will have impact on your career or business. It’s naïve to think they are separate,” Carrie said.

In the end, instead of taking to social media to express every emotion or launch the next rant against an individual(s), show some restraint. Call your mom, friend, write it down on a piece of paper and shred it, go for a walk, something, anything except putting your rant online.

Read more advice on protecting your personal brand at TechCo

This article was brought to you in partnership with .ME, the premium top-level domain for professionals focused on building their online reputation. Learn more at www.domain.me.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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