How to Make Social Media “Work” For You
The invention of social networking changed the way humans, businesses and organizations communicate and relay information. The all too popular social network Facebook boasts 1.11 billion monthly active users as of March 2013 and 655 million daily active users according to its newsroom page. Moreover, The Statistic Brain Research Institute cites the following:
Twitter has 554,750,000 active registered users, with 135,000 new users signing daily publishing 58 million tweets every day.
Each social network has its advantages and disadvantages but many of them can be instrumental not just in staying connected, but in job search, navigating your career, and building a personal brand, whether its for an individual or a business. Put forth the effort and each of your social media accounts will produce more connections and tips that could lead to a never-ending stream of opportunities.
Here are 4 tips to make social media work for you:
- Decide which social networks and how many you will use. There are numerous social networks to choose from and while I am active on several social networks, my main three are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I first fell in love with Twitter when I purchased my first Smartphone—a Blackberry. Now, more than 2,700 tweets later, it is still one of the great loves of my life. I joined Facebook in November last year, and instantly became a fan. I vowed to stay away from it while I was in college, for certain reasons, but now I enjoy seeing all the exciting announcements and photos. I’ve had a LinkedIn account since college, but never utilized it fully until later. A LinkedIn account is something that everyone should have. Its benefits are endless.
- Be strategic and selective when choosing who to “friend”, follow, and connect with, and don’t just accept a request to connect from anybody. On my social media pages I’m connected to family and friends and I follow several celebrities on their pages as well. I also follow and have connected with many individuals whom I consider to be my “career idols”—fellow writers, successful journalists, authors and others in areas of media and law. The connections and “friends” you choose could be key to opportunities down the road. If you are in the middle of a job search, discreetly let them know by reaching out to them and inquiring about their career. But also be a connection for them too by informing them of possible opportunities. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
- Post decent and meaningful content. In social networking, I have seen it all: the “I’m bored” posts on Facebook, the “I wish it would stop raining,” tweets. What is really the point of those? If you want social networking to work for you, try posting positive messages and material that shows your depth and passion. As many know, I am obsessed with journalism, law and women in the workplace, and the occasional book or film review. Call me boring, but I believe in relaying information that I feel is vital to others. And, in case you are wondering, people are always observing. One of my former high school English teachers who I keep in touch with noticed my posts about women in the workplace and connected me with one of her friends who had a friend who had recently started a magazine about women in business. That friend connected with me and then connected me with the publisher of that magazine with the idea of the possibility of me collaborating with her in a piece for her publication. I also have had other friends offer recommendations and advice based on what I include on my social media pages. So don’t be afraid to push the envelope by posting that interesting article, interview, news video, or speech. You never know who is paying attention.
- But don’t forget to have fun with it. Social networking isn’t meant to be business all the time. You can use it to your advantage, but it also should be fun, first and foremost. As I said before, photos are my favorite part of Facebook. From vacation photos to family ones, I’ve posted them all. People, even work acquaintances and potential employers want to see that you have a life outside of work.
So, go for it!