How to use social media in your career

Social media was once mostly just for fun, but not any more.

Social media is now a critical part of the way people in most walks of life communicate and a key part of how work gets done from corporations to government. Social media allows you to do at least four important things

  • Discover new ideas and trends.
  • Connect with existing and new audiences in deeper ways
  • Bring attention and traffic to your work.
  • Build, craft and enhance your brand.

As social media has become more popular, there are also more instances of people who have gotten in trouble for their social networking habits. The fact is that it’s impossible to separate the personal use of social from the professional, and everything you say online can and will be used against you. There are ways in which you can try to safeguard your privacy and control who sees particular content, but it is important for you to be vigilant. So, the more seriously you can take your social media activities, the better.

Social media changes all the time, so it’s important to keep up with the evolution of the platforms and to keep looking for ways to optimize your use of the available tool.

LinkedIn

 This serious, professional social networking should not be ignored by individuals or business, with its 500 million members, is the quintessential professional network and one that’s not used as optimally as it could be.

Most people just take it for granted and start using it in a panic when they have to change jobs. It’s often too late at that point. You are better off learning to use it when you don’t need it. LinkedIn works best when you use it as a career management tool and not just for job hunting. 

EXPANDING YOUR NETWORK AND INFLUENCE

LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to expand your network by finding and connecting with relevant professionals in your industry. The key is to find, approach and connect with folks you already know, folks you’d like to know and folks you should know. You should also post your own content, showing off your expertise on a regular basis.

Learn the recommendations feature to give and receive recommendations for people you have worked with in the past. You should give recommendations only to people whose work you are willing to vouch for. I’ve heard of employers who take recommendations on LinkedIn almost as seriously as ones received in more traditional ways. So if anything gives you pause, you should find a gentle way to turn down a request for a recommendation.

BUILDING AND EXPANDING A BUSINESS

Depending on your business, LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to deploy it for companies from recruiting to generating sales leads.On LinkedIn, you can create a company page and build an online community around it, getting customers and potential customers to follow you. To learn more about LinkedIn for business.

JOB HUNTING

Finding jobs is the most important part of LinkedIn for individuals, and you can use the network to track specific companies, people and job openings. Spend time getting to know, in detail, the search features that let you drill down into networks of people, companies and job postings.

When you’re looking for a new job, numbers matter, so take time to build your network. But be sure to do it in a smart way: Blasting invitations at complete strangers in the hopes of connecting with either them or people they are connected with is not a good strategy. Instead, look for legitimate connections you have with people — your alma mater, for example — and reach out with an invitation to connect that includes a personal note.

KEEP IN MIND

LinkedIn’s free account works well, but you may want to experiment with the premium version. It comes in many price points, starting at $29.99 a month. That’s serious money, but if you’re job hunting, it’s worth paying for the features that include the ability to email people you don’t know yet through the site, and connect in new ways with recruiters.

Twitter

It’s all about instant connections and sharing your ideas with its 328 million users, has recently changed its most famous and infamous feature, the 140-character limit by doubling to 280 character, it offers more room to express your thoughts and ideas. But keep in mind that brevity, along with strategic use of photos and videos, will continue to help you stand out; there’s no need to use all 280 characters in every post.

Twitter can be more conversational than other platforms, but be sure to understand the difference between your retweets, replies and your DM (direct messages). Retweets (RTS) are ways for you to share, and optionally comment on, others’ posts. Choosing “quote tweet” means you add a comment above someone’s post; just hitting “retweet” means it gets sent to your followers without any commentary from you. You should quote tweet whenever you can, so people understand why you are sharing something.

Replies are a public way to respond to posts by others and carry on a conversation that others see, while direct messages are a way for you to connect privately with someone. In order to be able to DM someone, they have to follow you; or they have opted for the setting that allows anyone to DM them. Group DM are an effective way to have more focused conversations among a larger group. Twitter allows you to have a private account (“protected” in their parlance) — but if you are using Twitter for business, having an open account makes more sense.

EXPANDING YOUR NETWORK AND INFLUENCE

The instantaneous nature of Twitter means you are able to:

  • Know in real-time about developments in your areas of interest.
  • Share, comment and be part of a global conversation that extends beyond people you are friends with.

BUILDING AND EXPANDING A BUSINESS

Smart, relevant, timely posts can help you raise your company’s profile, especially when you use hashtags in a professional manner. Participating in popular hashtags when they are relevant to you works well. As does occasionally using hashtags around your products or services.

The key: Keep hashtags simple, clear and unique, so that your hashtags aren’t hijacked by some other brand with something similar.

JOB HUNTING

Everyone’s obsessed with getting more followers, but for job hunting, who you follow is more important build list of influence by industry and topic (these lists can be public or private) and you’ll be able to see what they are interested in, what they’re thinking about and get ideas on how to reach out and connect to them. When someone in your industry asks a question or requests assistance, you can participate and show how relevant and useful you can be. There are numerous instances of Twitter conversations turning into face-to-face meetings.

KEEP IN MIND

Following good grammar, spelling and punctuation rules will help you stand out and create a good impression.

 

 

  • facebook
  • googleplus
  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • linkedin

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