Once upon a time, social media was primarily for personal, fun use. Not anymore. While social media is still a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, it’s now also a critical part of marketing and business. From local businesses to massive corporations to government agencies, social media has, in fact, become a vital aspect of a business’ brand, story, or connection with its fans and followers. As of 2017, over 80% of Americans are on social media, which goes to show just how many potential connections you could be missing out on if you haven’t yet utilized or harnessed the power of social media.
Whether you’re looking to expand your network, find a new job, or build a new business, you need to be on social media. Social media allows you to stay up-to-date on current trends, discover new ideas, and connect with both existing and new audiences on a deeper level. Best yet, it can help you build your career by bringing new attention and traffic to your work.
With countless social platforms out there today — and if you haven’t kept up with them as they emerge — deciding which social media platform you should use, and which can best achieve your career goals, can be overwhelming. In truth, each social platform offers different benefits, so depending on your career goal(s), it’s important to understand how each platform can contribute to your personal objectives.
So, from those already using social media looking to increase their presence, to those struggling just to get started, here is everything you need to know about the most useful social media platforms for the professional world.
As a professional, a polished and comprehensive LinkedIn page should be your first social media priority. That means you should create (or update) your LinkedIn page before moving on to any other social media platform. LinkedIn is a powerful, professional networking tool that should not be ignored; it works best as a career management tool, not just for job hunting, and should be used consistently — not just when you need it (like when changing jobs).
Among its 500 million users, LinkedIn is the easiest way to expand your professional network, thanks to its ability to find and connect with relevant professionals in your industry. After creating or updating your profile, make it a consistent practice of finding and connecting with the people you already know, the people you would like to know, and the people you should know. You can also create company pages on LinkedIn for recruiting purposes and generating sales leads, making it an effective tool for growing your business, as well as your professional network.
How LinkedIn Can Further Your Career:
Networking and making professional connections is a great place to start, but don’t forget to update followers on industry news, business updates, product launches, and other news your audience cares about. If you’re an industry leader, share that and all other relevant information!
Of all social media platforms, Facebook has, by far, the most users — 2.07 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2017. From your cousins to your great-grandmother to the salon down the street, it seems like everyone is on Facebook. It’s the most powerful and influential platform out there, so knowing how to really utilize it for your personal brand or business is extremely important when it comes to advancing your career.
On Facebook, you have the option of setting up a personal and/or a business page. Facebook Business pages are perfect for businesses or individuals running for, let’s say, a government position. Both allow and foster the growth of a brand’s or an individual’s professional image and should be maintained with that in mind. Conversely, if you’re simply using Facebook to shape your personal-professional image, it’s important to remember that like LinkedIn, Facebook is also widely utilized by employers. With that being said, you should always think twice about what you post on a personal or business Facebook page (or any social media page, for that matter). A good rule of thumb about posting something: If you have to ask yourself if it’s appropriate, decent-enough, okay, or otherwise, DON’T POST IT. Instead, only post images, video, and content that’s not only relevant to your professional interests, business, or target audience, but that also elevates your image.
How Facebook Can Further Your Career:
Facebook is a great place to shape and share your professional or your brand’s unique image. It engages users and can encourage user-generated content. Features like Facebook Live allow businesses to take their audience behind the scenes by instantly broadcasting things like employee Q&A’s and other internal events.
Twitter’s 313 million monthly active users help create instant connections by sharing ideas and updates in 280 characters or less. Twitter is great for sharing all kinds of original content and thoughts, but it’s especially liked by younger audiences that enjoy quick messages at higher frequencies. Twitter can be used to advance your professional career or your business connections — or even sell your merchandise — but doing so, and communicating effectively, requires that you first learn the lingo:
@: Just like in an email address, the @ symbol on Twitter denotes a Twitter address, or Twitter handle. If you want to tweet to someone directly, use their @theirhandle to ensure they see your tweet.
#: By adding a hashtag (#) before keywords in your tweet, Twitter is able to create a massive database of all hashtagged keywords. This makes it easy for users to search for tweets and join conversations on exactly the topic they’re looking for.
Retweet or RT: This is a way for you to directly reshare someone else’s tweet on your feed. Users may retweet your content by pressing the retweet button, or by copying and pasting your tweet and adding “RT” at the end.
Reply: Public conversations over Twitter are not uncommon and you may find someone replying to one of your tweets. Joining Twitter conversations is also a great way for you to connect to influencers in your industry and show your knowledge on relevant topics.
How Twitter Can Further Your Career:
Not only does Twitter allow you to stay up-to-date in real-time about developments in your industry, as well as be part of global conversations in your areas of interest, it also helps you be a part of that conversation. This can be especially important for industry leaders and specialists of their field. Furthermore, features like Twitter Polls are great for engaging with and expanding your network, and they are a huge asset for businesses looking for quick, direct feedback from their customer base.
Instagram has increasingly become more attractive to businesses and organizations, of all kinds, who have been looking to share and promote their personal brand in more visual ways. Built around the sharing of photos, videos, and captions, this all-encompassing social media platform boasts 500 million monthly active users, and is a great place to show another side of your personal brand or your business.
The key to using Instagram for professional growth is patience and experimentation: what kinds of images does your audience respond to, what hashtags get the most views, etc. No one strategy works for all individuals, industries, and professions and no Instagram strategy works overnight. If you’re looking to build your audience on Instagram, start by researching your competitors or successful accounts in other industries. What’s working and how can you incorporate (but don’t copy) those strategies into your own message or brand? If you’re a business owner looking to jump into social media, Instagram is the perfect, all-encompassing platform for genuinely engaging with and growing your audience, especially if you’re in a visual field.
How Instagram Can Further Your Career:
Instagram allows users to show fans and followers a more creative side of an individual or business. Whether that’s stylized shots or behind-the-scene happenings, Instagram is a visual, functional, and personal way to connect with others.
Social Media Success
If you’re looking to start or grow your personal social media presence, understanding that not all platforms were built for the same purpose plays a huge role in your social media success.
Getting yourself or your business onto social media is a step in the right direction, but if doing it successfully and well sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Keeping up with platform updates, creating quality content, and consistently sharing that content can seem impossible with everything else you have to do.
That’s where strong social media management services and Smarter Searches comes in. We work directly with businesses and professional individuals to create a strategic social media strategy that not only maintains your branded identity, but that alleviates your burden of social media posting. We have experience developing successful social media strategies for a wide range of industries, which means we can gauge which platforms will be most effective for your business. Contact us today to talk more or to request a social media pricing proposal.