Forget memes and funny cat videos, your social media profiles can be powerful tools to boost your career and job prospects. From developing your personal brand, to moving up in your field, we spoke to expert Brianna Blaney from TPD for some useful tips to professionally utilize different social media platforms.
1) What are the best social platforms for boosting your career? Any that people might not expect?
My favorites are LinkedIn and Twitter. One that people might not expect is Medium.
Medium is a blogging platform. It’s great because you can share things with a broader audience and it’s an interesting way to learn.
2) How has Medium been useful?
It really depends on what your goal is with social. If you want to learn, then Medium is an excellent online resource to turn to. If your goal is connecting with people, then you should be on Twitter and LinkedIn
If your goal to become a thought leader and be recognized as such? Medium also works.
3) For someone who hasn't built their online presence, how would they go about getting started?
Step 1: Create all your profiles – I like to use Hootsuite or Buffer to manage the profiles
I do best when I’m able to sit down and create a week’s worth of content in one go – I'll spend a good chunk of time finding articles I think are interesting and relevant to my brand.
A key that people miss is engagement – having 1 million followers means nothing if no one is engaging with you – being relevant in what you’re posting about.
Also, be mindful about posting things that are relevant to you. The biggest challenge is when people try to post about everything and be experts in everything.
4) Can social media be used for networking? How?
Yes! A couple of ways – What I love most about social media is finding people with common interests and identifying what people like, and what they talk about.
The most effective networkers ask questions – so I think when you have a sense of what people like, it gives you a much better chance to introduce yourself.
5) Who are some good people to follow?
It really depends on what you want to do. I like to follow people who are passionate about the future of work and the future of HR because that’s my area, also employer branding.
But I also follow people who I think are funny and who just really great content.
6) What are some don'ts when using social in a professional way?
Don’t feel pressured to create your own content – I don’t create a lot of content, I spend more time engaging and sharing other peoples content.
When you create content, you need to make sure it’s passionate and meaningful, there is way too much crappy content out there.
I also think it’s okay to not always agree with other content.
As well, be mindful of what you are sharing socially vs. professionally – they aren’t the same thing in terms of what is appropriate.
I don’t use twitter socially, it’s all professional – and I don’t use Instagram or Facebook for professional purposes.
7) Can you share a personal anecdote of a time when social media benefited your career?
I’ve had a lot of success using social media to connect with key influencers and thought leaders.
For example, I had a chance to connect with an industry leader in home health care just by reaching out and commenting on the content she was sharing. By simply asking for an opportunity to learn more she actually gave me an hour of her time.
It’s amazing the network you can build by just being authentically interested in what people are doing in your industry
8) Any new up and coming social app you would recommend?
I would say video in general – any kind of video platform. That’s huge right now.
9) How would you establish yourself as a thought leader?
I think anyone can create content. I’m not a content creator and I’ve definitely blogged before.
You don’t need to always have crazy long articles, just get your opinion out there.
Even simply engaging with other content, talking back and forth, and creating discussion on content that is already out can be helpful.
10) Can you use social media for follow-ups? Is it professional?
Very professional for LinkedIn. Can be professional on twitter depending on the nature of your relationship.
One of the things I love is when people go to conferences and then share little debriefs or summaries on LinkedIn or on Medium – really interesting way of learning about people.
11) Job seekers - How can they utilize social media?
Social is vital for them. With the growth of employer branding, so many organizations are now building brands on social, and those give you a much more authentic look into their corporate culture.
As a job seeker, social media profiles can give you a lot of insight into what the actual corporate life is at a company, beyond the sales pitch on their website
Social Media can also be a really interesting way of connecting with different recruiters at company. If someone sees you engaging with their content, it shows a genuine interest in what they do.
It can also be a great way of reaching out to people that are in similar roles at the company you want to work for, or at other roles in similar companies, and ask what their career path has been.
You can end those interactions with an ask of “what would you do if you were in my shoes?”
12) Overall, what are the keys for social media?
Be a contributor, make it meaningful, and don’t put out crap. Don’t just say something for the sake of saying it. Be authentic and make sure you like the brand that you are building. So, take your time to decide what that brand looks like and let it evolve.
You don’t have to be on every social media platform, it’s better to do a few very well than to do everything poorly.
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