If you think social media is for sharing what you had for lunch, think again. Social media has changed dramatically in the past few years, and is now can be used professionally. Here are 5 ways to use social media to enhance your career.
Participate in Webinars & Training
There are a plethora of webinars and online training modules online for just about any topic under the sun – and attending them often don’t cost a dime. Many webinars are sponsored by a brand or business or underwritten by a business as a marketing tool, but more often than not provide great topics, tips, presentations and opportunities to hear professionals in your field speak about your industry.
As an added bonus, most webinars have a social aspect to them, from a chat box during a GoToMeeting to a hashtag on Twitter, which lets participants connect with one another and discuss the topics among themselves while also asking questions and starting conversations. Webinars are beneficial for two reasons. First, you’ll likely learn something from it, even if that “thing” is a new way of thinking about an old problem; savvy professionals use information to enhance the way they do their jobs. Second, you’ll be able to use some webinars – especially prestigious webinars or those facilitated by well-known companies – as professional development.
Share your expertise
Social media lets you position yourself as an expert. Use channels to share your expertise with the world. If you’re a photographer or designer, consider the micro-blogging platform, Tumblr, to easily share your visual posts. Create a great presentation? Share it on SlideShare for everyone to see. Take time to answer questions in your field on Twitter or Facebook groups to prove your know-how. Consistent, high-quality content will help you develop your expertise.
Connect with others
What is “social media” without the social? For social media channels to work, professionals must engage with others in a real and organic way. Many companies have tried automating the process and have failed, so your best bet when using social media to enhance your career is to build strong connections with a variety of individuals in your industry by starting conversations, asking questions or just chit-chatting in forums, Facebook groups or on Twitter. Casual conversation may seem like a waste of energy if your goal is to enhance your career, but connecting on a personal level builds trust, which is the first step to a successful business relationship. Keep the conversation light at first, retweet or share information your new connections share and send articles or news they might find useful. Talking “shop” can come later, including networking and getting insight into their company. To help you, join LinkedIn groups and get regular email updates when new messages are posted or set up Twitter lists to help you keep track of your connections.
Create a personal brand
Brands aren’t just for businesses. You should spend time crafting your personal brand, which includes your social media profiles, website or blog. Use the same avatar for all your social media profiles so connections can recognize you from channel to channel. Build out profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn that reflect your personality. You can even create a “logo” for yourself using colors and fonts that can be used on your resume and on your Twitter and Facebook covers. Your brand can also include your voice, or how you write messages and communicate. Stay consistent with your brand and voice for the biggest impact.
Start a blog
There are millions of blogs in the world; start your own and make it a million and one. Blogging can be a great way to share your views and professional know-how with the world. Even if you don’t write something groundbreaking that turns you into an instant celebrity, you’ll be creating a nice portfolio of your professional work for your future employers.
About the Author
Mike Walters writes about career and health and wellness topics for Engagement Health.