As seen in THE BEAT, December 2019. Subscribe here.
Building a strong social media network can help you get ahead in your career in more ways than one. First and foremost, it helps you build lasting and valuable relationships. Business leaders use it to support relationships with employees. New business professionals can earn trust among potential clients. Thought leaders create a following and credibility for their ideas and shared content. Employees solidify and add value to relationships with company leaders, supervisors and coworkers, as well as clients and vendors. Recruiters and HR managers use it to find qualified candidates to fill current and future openings.
This article summarizes the state of social media networking today, the ways it can help you advance your career potential and the steps you can take to get more out of your social media activities.
THE VALUE OF YOUR SOCIAL BRAND
You’ve got a personal and professional brand. If you aren’t using social media to promote your own brand, you’re missing out on opportunities for building and nurturing your professional network and advancing your career. How you’re promoting your brand on social media can have an impact on nearly all aspects of your career. If you’re in sales, your social media presence is noticed by prospects and customers. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, it will be noticed by management. For those of you looking for new opportunities, hiring and recruiting pros will be checking out your social profiles.
Social Media in Professional Development
Marketers love social media. As business professionals, there’s a lot you can learn from them. Social media is the most popular B2B marketing tactic with 83% of marketers using it. It’s also time efficient. With only six hours a week spent on social media, 66% of marketers found social media brought in new leads. And, social selling is a key tactic for businesses looking to increase sales. It is part of the B2B decision making process with 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers influenced by social media.
84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when purchasing
70% of Fortune 500 CEOs choose LinkedIn as first and only social network
Consider the influence social media has on career advancement:
- Social media and networks are ranked the most useful job search resource
- 79% of job applicants use social media in their job search
- 91% of employers use social media for recruitment
- 3 out of 4 hiring managers and recruiters check candidates’ social profiles
- 1 out of 3 employers have rejected candidates based on something they found in social profiles
- By 2020, Employers say social media marketing will be the most in-demand HR skill
ADVANCE YOUR CAREER POTENTIAL
Renew Your Social Media Mindset
How can you renew your social media mindset to advance your career potential? Social media is important for career development because it’s such a powerful form of networking.
Networking is key to career and professional development. The connections you make on social media could help you get a new job, find a mentor, learn more about your industry, support a career change, and more.
Social media has changed the way we communicate personally and professionally. Now you can share your story with people near and far. Social media has made it possible to broaden your reach beyond your traditional, close connections. It also makes sharing ideas, successes and best practices faster and easier than ever.
Here’s what you need to renew or re-energize your social media mindset:
- Customize and personalize
Many platforms allow you to segment and personalize your contact lists and messages, so you can share with targeted audiences.
- Utilize shortcuts to make messages more appealing: easier to absorb, hard to miss
With emojis, short links and hashtags, you can make your messages short and sweet — and avoid having them ignored.
- Build-in links to support messages, add value and promote further engagement
The inclusion of a link in your social media posts to a blog post, article, infographic, video, research paper, or any type of online content is a must-have to drive home your message and offer a deeper, more engaging connection between you and your audience.
- Educate and share knowledge
When you post valuable ideas and info via your social media profiles, you create a win win for you and your network. Do this consistently and you’ll find a stronger and growing following of like-minded connections.
GET MORE OUT OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITIES
Some people think networking is just business cards and LinkedIn profiles, but networking is really about one thing…building lasting and valuable relationships.
We’ll cover some key ways you can get more out of your social media activities with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the preferred social network for professionals and it should be your main focus, too. Here are a few benefits of keeping your LinkedIn Profile fresh-faced and up-to-date:
- Your LinkedIn profile gives employers a quick summary of your expertise, strengths and work experience
- It helps you tell your brand story and distinguishes you from less tech-savvy professionals
- It provides you with a digital rolodex of connections for future reference
- And, your Linkedin profile helps recruiters and important connections weigh you personally and professionally based on your posts
Let’s cover four essential steps to getting more out of your social media activities.
Choose your social media outlets.
LinkedIn + Twitter
LinkedIn, Twitter + Other
What’s doable from a time commitment and your personal technology know-how?
Update and enhance your social media profile(s) on those outlets.
This is your chance to present a unique professional value proposition. It will convey the unique set of skills and experiences you possess.
Here are some key features to focus on with your LinkedIn profile.
- Profile picture: Including a profile picture will garner 14 times more views. Your photo should be consistent with your professional brand. If you’re in a conservative industry – like accounting – it should look business-like.
- Headline: The headline will follow your name in LinkedIn wherever your profile is listed. It should be succinct and clear within 120 characters.
- Summary: This is your professional brand story in a nutshell. Use keywords appropriate to your value proposition, experience and credentials. Here’s a tip: research other users who possess similar experience and titles. You can yield best practices and keywords to craft your own summary.
- Skills: A good skills list can earn 11 times more profile views. The key is to ensure you are endorsed for those most relevant skills. It is worth the time and effort to keep tight control over your list of skills. If you are suggested for a skill that doesn’t fit just right, reject it.
- Public Profile URL: You can and should customize your LinkedIn URL. If your name is already taken by another user, think about appending your URL with a degree or certification, a profession, or a location. Think of your URL as excellent branding opportunity.
- Experience: This is your work experience history, similar to what you’ll see on a resume.
- Recommendations: Although less common now, recommendations remain a potent part of a LinkedIn profile. Recommendations that underscore your unique value proposition, especially where a key accomplishment is dependent upon some part of it, is a fantastic way to drive home the message.
Verify and expand your social media network within those outlets.
- Be sure to add these connections to your network: Coworkers, current vendor partners, current clients, prospects you’ve been in touch with.
- Be sure to follow your company page and those of your current vendor partners, current clients, and prospect businesses.
Create your own goals and plan
No matter where you are in your career…first few years or within 10 years of retirement… you can benefit from a stronger social media presence.
What’s in a plan? Think about how frequently you want to post. How much time are you willing to spend on reviewing your feed, reacting to posts in your network, and sharing fresh ideas? Consider what type of topics you’d like to cover and where you might source high quality content.
Now you are ready to begin executing your plan and achieving your goals!
- Add an event to your calendar as a reminder to create and publish your posts.
- Remind yourself to Like and Share posts from important company executives and influential clients.
- Add a monthly reminder to review your network and your profile. Are there new influencers to follow? Can you update your profile? Do you have new contacts to connect with?
- Post with a purpose. Don’t just post to your feed and forget it. Take the extra step to share your most timely and relevant posts with key contacts in your network. Add a message that demonstrates you’ve got their interests and needs in mind.
SOCIAL NETWORKING DOs
It might seem like social media networking is an uphill battle, but with some reminders and discipline, it’s actually easier than you think. How do you DO it?
- DO polish your social media presence before making online connections
- DO personalize every part of your profile
- DO create separate social media accounts for social and professional personas
- DO use photos effectively
- DO interact with the same courtesy online as you would in-person
- DO follow-up with contacts
Profiles with photos get 21x more views and 36x more messages
It takes only 1/10 of a second to make an impression of someone from a photo
DO Put Social Media to Work for Your Career
Advancing your career can mean different things to different people. It depends on where you are in your career journey. If you’re in the early years of your career, you may be working hard to build up your network and be open to new opportunities. Those of us two or more decades into our working lives might be focused more on growing our customer base and mentoring our less experienced peers.
No matter where you are within this career spectrum, you simply can’t avoid the power of a thoughtful social media presence.