How to use social media to protect yourself online
Let’s talk about Internet security & privacy.
Private practice dietitians and small business owners need to be aware of how to use social media responsibly to protect yourself online.
If you use social media to promote your practice, we need to be discussing it. Even if you think that you don’t overshare… if you have any social media account, I urge you to read the following posts and ask yourself some questions to start thinking critically about your online presence.
We don’t talk much about it, but Internet security is important for small businesses & professionals in the field of fitness & nutrition: dietitians, nutrition coaches, personal trainers, gym owners, consultants, etc.
- Do I list my home address on any business paperwork (LLC filing, email newsletter, or other)?
- If I accept insurance, did I apply using my social security number, or did I use my EIN?
- Do I list my personal cell phone number as a contact number on Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, or elsewhere?
- Do I give out my personal cell phone number to clients?
- Do I have a public presence (large or small) on social media? If so, can my followers discern where I live, what shops & restaurants I frequent, and what times they can find me there?
If the answers to these questions make you question your online presence and alert you that you need to make some changes… keep reading!
Define Your Why
Ask yourself, why do you post online?
Why do I post online?
- Well, for one, I’m building a business, and I want my advice to be out there! I want people to learn and discover my authentic self and my coaching methods so that they can decide for themselves if they want to work with me.
- And two, I like it. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and tips on fitness and nutrition, and I admire others in my profession who do the same.
At the same time, I’m scared.
I think about what happened to me when I was a personal trainer in Boston. The crazy insane cyber stalker situation I had to live through. The threatening texts I received… and some other unbelievable details that I won’t go into.
I think about it. Every. Single. Day.
Does it make me want to flip all my accounts to private or stop posting entirely? Yeah, sometimes. Do I fantasize about training hardcore martial arts, buying an RV, turning into a gypsy nomad, and never revealing my location for the rest of my life? Yes, definitely. But I will not let his actions limit me. Never. If I do choose to become a ninja gypsy nomad, it’s because I want that for my life. (It actually sounds pretty cool…)
Setting aside my active imagination full of gypsies, ninja kicks, and badassery, let’s talk about how I maintain my real life public social media accounts while feeling safe enough and maintaining my sanity. No martial arts necessary!
First, I want to emphasize that Internet privacy doesn’t happen overnight. If you’ve been posting without a care in the world for years… it’s going to take some time to clean things up and get your accounts and information on lock. Don’t attempt to do this all in one day. As with fitness + food, you’re not going to change your habits with the snap of your fingers.