WHAT IS A SOCIAL SCORE?
In the past decade, social media have seen an impressive expansion. In fact, social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, are now widespread platforms for social interaction and a lot of people use them as a way to share their daily activities and thoughts with the world.
Translating new occurrences, like the worldwide growth of social media, into numbers makes things easier to understand for most people. With that in mind, Facebook started to quantify your number of friends, while Twitter displays your number of followers and LinkedIn counts your connections. But none of these numbers take into account people’s actual activity on social networks.
That’s where social scoring comes in. Taking into account several factors, such as your number of interactions or the nature of the content you publish on social media, it is now possible to quantify and qualify your social media presence and determine what kind of impact that presence can have in your life.
A social score can be defined as the result of a mathematical calculation based on your social media activity. Using advanced monitoring and analysis tools, social scoring websites allow you to see yourself through the eyes of those who come across your social media accounts and use the data you obtain to adjust your online behaviour.
Most existing social score systems aim at measuring social media influence, which is basically an individual’s ability to affect other people’s behaviour in a social online community. The more influence a person has, the biggest the appeal that individual has to companies or other individuals who want to promote an idea.
Websites like Direct Social are dedicated to analyse social media activity and measure how a user profile influences other users and how well integrated users are in the social media community. The results of that analysis are usually presented to the user through graphs that allow them to track social score results over time and compare them with the results of other users.
Your social score can be used to assess several elements, including your trustworthiness, employability, creditworthiness, social habits and online activity patterns. Both companies and individuals have become increasingly aware of that possibility in the last couple of years and started using it to their advantage.
Since social scoring is still a recent trend, it’s hard to know who exactly is using it to make decisions regarding employment, credit granting or marketing campaigns. What we do know is that more and more companies are looking at social media as part of their research and assessment processes and this is likely to increase in the future.
In this digital era we live in, taking control of how you’re viewed by others is more important than ever. This is why being aware of your social score and managing your social media interactions carefully have become decisive factors to get on the good side of prospective employers, credit providers and service providers. The sooner you learn that the way you present yourself online can have an impact in every aspect of your life, the better your chances of success will be.
WHAT DOES MY DIGITAL IMPRESSION MEAN?
Your digital impression is the trail that you leave behind each time you post, share or tweet on a social network. Many people are beginning to realise that something they shared in the past is not necessarily something they want others to see in the present and the idea that things on the Internet aren’t permanent isn’t necessarily accurate.
Even if you post something on Facebook or share a picture on Instagram and delete it immediately after, it is possible that someone has already seen it or shared it, which makes it very hard or even impossible for you to track it and make sure it never gets published again.
This is why it’s important to mind what you post online. Posting a photo of you today may seem harmless, but you should always remember that what you post on social media can help shape and grow your personal image as quickly as it can ruin your reputation forever.
As a general rule, you should avoid posting any content online when you’re upset or intoxicated, as you’re likely to write or share something that you may regret later. Also, it is important to remember that social media shouldn’t be used to share your every activities and feelings with the world, as you never know who could be reading.
Nothing on the Internet is truly private and your social media posts are no exception. We’ve all heard about personal relationships that ended due to thoughtless social media posts, just as we’ve read many news stories of people who lost their jobs over inappropriate content they posted on a social network.
Younger generations tend to be particularly reckless with their social media presence. Many teenagers end up using social media as a sort of personal diary, where they share every thought and experience with friends.
Although the consequences of a Facebook post containing pictures of you on a wild night out may not be immediate, there’s always the possibility that they will catch up with you eventually. It is well known that universities and employers are using social media in their screening processes and what seemed to be a harmless post at the time, may very well prevent you from studying at the university of your choice or getting your first job.
It could be argued that most people are aware that the online you is different to the person on your university application, CV or even sitting at the office. But that’s exactly why social media offer a kind of insight that no interview or cover letter can. Nothing speaks higher to your good judgement than your ability to carefully manage how people see you online.
There are a few best practices to managing your digital impression that can save you a lot of embarrassment and regret. The first one is to always ask yourself if the content you’re posting is something that you would want your parents and grandparents to see. If it isn’t, chances are it’s not appropriate for a future employer or for your boss to see either.
It’s also a good idea to consider not only your reputation, but the reputation of those around you. Before posting, ask yourself if that content could eventually harm someone in your family, circle of friends, school or in the company you work for. If the answer is yes, just don’t publish it.
You should also avoid posting controversial content that can be easily misinterpreted or taken out of context. Not everyone has good intentions, so avoid putting yourself in a position where you may have to explain yourself for something you posted or wrote.
Last, but not least, have a balance of appropriate fun and business related content when you post. Nobody expects your life to revolve around work. The important thing is to understand that a balanced social media presence could save you from missing out on great opportunities.
In the end, your digital impression may help you build a solid personal or professional reputation or may become a source of embarrassment and frustration. The key is to be mindful of what and when you post online and not let an ill-advised decision have an irreversible effect in your life.
HOW DOES MY SOCIAL SCORE AFFECT ME?
Your social score is based on your social media activity and takes into account several elements, such as how active you are on social networks, the type of language you use in your posts and the topics you mention.
The impression you leave behind when you interact with your social media of choice can provide instant and valuable insights into your tastes, personality traits or professional abilities that traditional research methods can’t provide.
This is why the data obtained in your social score is increasingly being used by credit providers, employers and all sorts of companies to build a picture of you as an individual, an employee and a consumer.
One of the largest american credit rating companies, FICO, has recently expanded the way it assesses a customer’s creditworthiness to include looking at the information posted on social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter.
In fact, FICO chief executive Will Lansing went as far as saying that ‘if you look at how many times a person says ‘wasted’ in their Facebook profile, it has some value in predicting whether they’re going to repay their debt’.
Although it’s hard to say how many credit providers are following FICO’s lead in using social media as part of their assessment processes, it is known that this number is certainly increasing. If you’re applying for a loan or another financial product, you may want to take a look at your social media pages and make sure there’s nothing in there that can damage your reputation and speak to your creditworthiness in a negative way.
Social scoring is also playing an important part in several companies’ recruitment processes. Figures from Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey show that 93 percent of american recruiters review social media profiles before hiring a candidate and it’s estimated that this is becoming a trend in the European job market, as well.
These days, your social score is certainly likely to be taken into account by potential employers, so make sure you portray yourself as a trustworthy and reliable person, namely by keeping the content in your profile as appropriate as possible and by sharing content that relates to your field of work in a positive manner.
Just like credit providers and recruiters, other companies operating in all sorts of markets have also realised the great potential of social networks and started using them to target specific audiences in their marketing campaigns. As a matter of fact, adverts can be displayed on your Facebook page based on your location, age, gender or interests, which means that, if you’re honest about who you are and what you like in your social media interactions, you can actually benefit from getting to know products and services that answer to your specific needs.
A good social score may also help you build your business or even make some extra money. The wider your network of friends and followers, the more likely you are to get people to visit and share your business page, whether you’re selling home made jewellery or trying to sell your car. A well managed and broadly followed social media page can also go a long way in arousing the interest of companies who are looking for people to promote their business through affiliate marketing.
As you can see, the possibilities brought by the widespread growth of social media are considerable and reach into pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. The way you show yourself to the world through your social network profiles can be decisive in getting you that job you’d like, that loan you need or that business opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
HOW CAN DIRECT SOCIAL HELP?
In the past few years, social scoring has become an increasingly important factor to measure your social and professional success, based on your social media activity. Since this is a relatively new concept, most people are still unaware of what they can do to manage their digital impression effectively.
Direct Social was created to fill that gap by explaining and displaying your digital impression in a comprehensive and easy to understand dashboard. It breaks down your social score into positive and negative factors and helps you understand what you need to work on to make the most of social media.
By analysing your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, our system will let you know how you are perceived by others according to what, when and where you post. If you have profiles on all three social networks, make sure you add them all to your Direct Social account, as that will allow us to give you a more comprehensive and accurate report.
Based on your behaviour on social networks, we will let you know how your personality comes across, taking into account the five big personality traits that are commonly used by psychologists and scholars to define an individual: openness, awareness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Direct Social will also help you understand what constitute positive and negative factors in the construction of your social score. Mentioning positive life events and sharing employment related posts is definitely the way to go if you want to improve your social score and convey a solid and professional image.
On the other hand, mentions of financial stress, swearing or using what can be conceived as adult language is likely to negatively impact your overall score and convey a certain lack of judgement and self control.
You may not realise it, but the time you spend on social media can impact your social score almost as much as the content itself. Frequently posting during your normal working hours doesn’t exactly transmit a professional and focused image, so you should always try to concentrate your social media activities around your times of leisure.
By displaying your social media activity according to the times of day and week when most of your posts get published through a straightforward graph, we’ll allow you to take a look at how others – including your employer – perceive your time management skills and adjust your behaviour accordingly.
Direct Social will also lend a hand in letting you know how your money management is perceived based on your social media activity. Taking into account your mentions of purchases, paid activities and money in general, we will show you your estimated spending activity based entirely on what you post online. This tool will allow you to see your spending through the eyes of others and be aware of how much your social networks know about your financial life. If it’s too much, you can always rethink what you share online.
Last, but not least, Direct Social will display your social media activity geographically, showing you where your posts originate. This tool serves a double purpose. Firstly, it alerts you to the possibility of your social network accounts being used fraudulently by others.
For instance, it’s physically impossible for someone to post from the UK and from Australia within one hour, so if that appears to be the case, there’s obviously something wrong. Secondly, it lets you know how trustworthy you come across based on how your location is displayed across your accounts. The more consistent this information is, the more reliable you will seem.
With our wide range of tools and resources, Direct Social gives you unlimited access to your digital impression, anytime, anywhere and provides you a comprehensive overview of your social score, letting you know exactly how you can improve it.
Establishing yourself as a reputable person on social media, both personally and professionally, will no longer be a challenge. We’ll give you everything you need to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL SCORE
Your social media presence can be monitored, analysed and used to assess pretty much every aspect of your life and personality. If you manage your online networking activity carefully, it can certainly work to your advantage, both personally and professionally.
But what should you do if your social score shows that the image you’re conveying through social media isn’t exactly positive? Even though your digital impression – the trail that you leave behind for others to find in every social media interaction – can’t be changed overnight, there are a few things you can do to make others see you in a better light and improve your social score:
Google yourself – Conducting an Internet search using your name or the username you use on social media can be an effective way to stay on top of how others perceive your online presence. Before deciding on what you’ll do to improve your social score, you need to get a good overview on how you’re actually coming across on social media. This is also a good way to be reminded of old inactive social network accounts you may have and delete them.
Remove negative content – If you find negative content associated with your social media profiles, such as swearing, sexual content, alcohol or drugs related posts or mentions of financial problems, you may consider removing it altogether. Bear in mind that the negative information may be hosted on third party websites, like blogs, comments or videos, so you may need to ask a website owner to take the information down or even submit a data removal request to Google to remove links to any undesirable content.
Use privacy settings effectively – Most social networks have privacy systems that will allow you to set limits to your content’s access and shareability. Using them effectively is a great way to avoid being tagged in photos or posts that you don’t necessarily want to be associated with. The key here is to limit access to anything that might get you in trouble, both personally and professionally.
Keep your posts positive – To optimise your social media presence, you should replace any negative content with content that portrays your career and personal life in a positive way. Writing posts on cultural activities and sharing content that is connected to your field of work can go a long way in showing people in general and prospective employers in particular that you are a focused and interesting person, who values a good work-life balance.
Don’t oversell yourself – Although keeping a positive attitude throughout your social media interactions is desirable, overdoing it can easily backfire. No one wants to friend or employ someone who keeps describing themselves as the best, the fittest, the richest or the most popular person that ever lived. People relate to genuine posts, so it isn’t worth it to try to portray yourself as perfect.
Be active, but not too much – It’s certainly important to post frequently and interact with other active and influential people in your network, but you don’t want to be that person who shares every story they can find. If you’re too active on social media, people will soon start disregarding your posts as they’ll see them as ‘just one more’. Also, be mindful of when you post on social networks. If most of your content is published during your normal working hours, you’ll not come across as a particularly professional or focused individual.
In the end, your social score is a reflection of how you are seen by others. If you follow these straightforward tips to improve it, you’re much more likely to maintain a balanced social media presence without ruining any job prospects, relationships or other personal aspects of your life.