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In the public relations industry, social media is a must. It’s no doubt that Millenials have the upper hand when learning various, new platforms, which is why staying professional yet personal through so many online sites is such a feat.

One of the most talked about topics from professionals to students, in my opinion, is the idea of “cleaning up your online presence.” I recently heard Lamar’s Marketing Coordinator Allie McAlpin speak about social media etiquette, and one of her main suggestions was to look through personal social media accounts and improve your personal image.

She emphasized the personal brand aspect of the social media presence, which opened my eyes more than previous speakers had done. As pre-professionals, we are constantly told to make our personal accounts as professional as possible, but most professionals seem to forget about the aspect of creativity when telling us to do so. My main question with many previous speakers was always whether a “cleaner” online image would still showcase my true personality to future employers. If I’ve completely swept out all the “unprofessional” images and posts that may not be inappropriate in my eyes, would employers still understand the real me? McAlpin finally made it very clear – we have to be able represent ourselves respectfully and yet show our uniqueness without being inappropriate.

This advice became infinitely more important during the Bateman Competition. As a team member, it was vital that I as well as the other members of the team maintained a professional image while representing our client and school. During our campaign, we collaborated on an event with a local bar and grill where pictures were important in showcasing some of the event’s success. With the pictures came a decision on what should be posted to garner the utmost respect and positive attention from viewers, and the team decided to post low-key pictures that displayed the client’s name and logo at the event’s location.

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A Fred’s attendee holds their free koozie they received from the Bateman Team.

It’s no secret that pre-professionals and professionals from time-to-time have a bit too much fun at an event or party, but maintaining a clean identity on social media isn’t as hard as it may seem. Staying aware of the pictures and words posted is always the first step. Taking McAlpin’s advice and posting pictures that signify one’s interests and hobbies is the best way to showcase your creativity while staying professional.

Post written by: Emily Beck, Public Relations senior at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. As a Bateman Team member, Beck believes professionalism is a top priority for any pre-professional.