Social media is awesome for many reasons:
Reconnecting with long lost school friends. Super cute animal videos. Staying in touch with your favorite cousin who is backpacking through Europe.
Stalking your ex to see who they’re dating now.
There is no denying its presence in the fabric of our daily lives; according to a Pew Survey, nearly two-thirds of American adults use social media. While it has to power to keep us connected to the people, brands, and ideas we love, Social Media can also help advance your career.
Most career-minded people know it’s beneficial to have a profile on LinkedIn. But regardless of which social platform you’re on (yes, even SnapChat!), if you spend your time wisely, you can use it to help bolster your career.
4 Ways Social Media Can Help Advance Your Career
#1 – Industry Networking
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have global presences. It’s so easy to find and connect with people in any industry just about anywhere you can think of. Without leaving your desk, you can initiation connections and spark relationships that could lead to your next client, mentor, or job opportunity.
#2 – Positioning Yourself as a Player or Influencer in Your Industry
When your social feed is filled with useful tips and thought provoking ideas concerning issues in your career field (whether they are your ideas or someone else’s), people will take notice and view you as a valuable resource.
#3 – Building Deeper Relationships With Existing Clients, Vendors, Co-workers
Everyone in your current career ecosystem is fair game to connect with on every social network you participate in. Beyond interacting on a professional level, there’s something to be said about getting a peek into what they care about beyond the 9-5 grind that endears you to them a bit more. At the end of the day, you don’t do business with “companies;” you do business with people.
#4 – Client and Opportunity Attraction
I can tell you from personal experience that there’s nothing more thrilling than to have someone reach out to you because they’ve seen your posts, read your profile and are interested in how you or the company you work for can help them. Showing up consistently in someone’s feed keeps you top of mind when they need a resource or service you can provide.
3 Career Boosting Activities To Perform Consistently on Social Media
It would be a bit unfair to tell you the benefits of using social media for your career and not show you how to to make it happen. So here are 3 action steps you take each day to help you attract the right attention to your career and develop relationships that could help you advance your goals.
But fear not: these three activities don’t need to take over your life; in the 20 minutes you spend eating breakfast or lunch at your desk, you could be finished with one or more of these steps.
Post Career Related Content Consistently
Before you tell me you don’t have time to blog, it doesn’t have to be your original content. Neither do you have to interrupt your daily workflow to post to the seven different networks you’re on.
Use a tool like HootSuite or Buffer to pre-schedule content you’d like to share. They both have browser extensions, so when you come across a cool article on Huffington Post, Penelope Trunk, the industry-specific blog you follow, or even your own company’s blog (hint, hint fish-mates!), you can easily add it to your cue to be posted on the profiles of your choosing immediately, or at a later time. Of course, if you do blog, you should publish links to them on your feeds as well.
By consistently posting information that relates to your career, you will grab the attention of your followers who are like minded and attract new ones interested in the same. They will look forward to seeing your posts, and it will be a gateway to sparking critical conversations online and off.
Find Your Tribe
The best thing about social media is that anyone you are interested in connecting with is likely already using your favorite platforms. You just have to find them. All the major social sites have ways for you to discover people, brands, or interests. Look for individuals and companies you already have a personal connection with or take off on an adventure. Like, follow, connect with all you’re interested in on a professional level.
LinkedIn, Facebook and G+ have groups or communities around a wide variety of topics. Find communities on Instagram and Twitter with hashtags. Listen in on the conversations and add your (relevant) $0.02. People will start interacting with you and will start following your feed or send you a connection request.
You do the same; reach out and connect with individuals who are interacting with you or who just seem interesting. Not everyone you reach out to will accept your connection request or follow you back, but that’s ok. For the ones that do respond, they’ll become part of your social circle, and you now will have the opportunity to build up your “know, like, and trust” factor with them.
Initiate Genuine Conversations
Let’s face it: having a high friend or follower count is just a grown up version of a High School popularity contest. That fact is that we probably don’t really know all of our 1,259 “friends” on Facebook or 789 connections on LinkedIn. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to get to know them.
Here’s the key: no one likes advertisements or spam messages. So pick a few people a day to send a brief one to two line messaging that attempts to establish a relationship with them by asking a relevant question. To do this, you’ll need to take a quick peek at their profile and find a common interest or details about their career you find fascinating. Then write a message that might sound something like this:
“Hey Margaret, I was just going through my connections list and noticed that you volunteer at The Atlanta Food Mission. I’ve actually been looking for volunteer opportunities; would you mind sharing what your experience has been like? I’d love to know! Thanks.”
Be sure to keep it brief, don’t share much about yourself and ask a question about them; it’s their open invitation to respond. Then take things from there. People can smell B.S. so be authentic. If you don’t see any way to spark a conversation with someone, no worries… you have lots of other contacts to pick from to try and connect with.
I hope you find these tips helpful and are inspired to take action on some or all of them. Are there any other actions you take on social media that has helped you build your career? Share with me in the comments!