I love social media. I use it all of the time both professionally and personally. Yesterday when at a friend’s house, my phone beeped for the 15th time since I’d arrived and she jokingly asked me which social media feed it was this time. It is engrained into my life.
As I spend so much time using social media I have learnt a couple of things about how to ensure it is working in your favour – and more importantly not to your detriment.
Have the appropriate accounts. And use your accounts for the appropriate things
I have four social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter, Instragram and LinkedIn and a website for my blog.
They are all used for very different things.
Facebook is totally social. I have my profile set to private because I don’t want just anyone snooping around my private life. In addition to this you just don’t know what other people may post/tag you in. It’s not worth my career.
Twitter is a mix of professional and social. My boss follows me on Twitter. NFP leaders, business professionals and people I look up to follow me on Twitter. So do some of my best friends. I always keep this diverse readership in mind when I tweet. Mostly, I post articles and photos. I use it less as a thoughtless outlet than I used to because I want to be known as a professional. It’s part of my brand.
Use #hashtags when it’s appropriate. It’s a good way to get involved in a conversation or to start one.
LinkedIn is totally professional. It used for building and nurturing my network, for learning and helping others to learn and to develop my knowledge. I am extremely careful about what I post.
I really use it to my advantage. My profile has an All Star rating, I pay for my membership (Personal Plus), I endorse people, I write recommendations, and I’m active in my groups. And it is working. One of the best things I have ever done with regards to using social media is to learn how to use LinkedIn properly. Make it about you. For one – get rid of the “people similar to Alice Newport” section on your profile. You don’t want people to be enticed away from your profile. Make them stay with you. Update and engage.
As with Twitter. It’s part of my brand.
Instagram is again a totally social platform. It’s just another way for me to create memories.
My website. Now my website mainly a professional platform. Because it holds my writing I use it as a base for building my portfolio and I have it feeding to my FB, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. This way my writing and/or blogging gets out to everyone I know and it help to build my brand.
Build your brand
Everywhere people are talking about “building your personal brand”. Listen to them. Make sure you’re known for something and run with it. Me – I’m known for providing fantastic support to Exec’s, working with NFP’s and for writing.
Find what you’re good at and what you enjoy and own it.
Connect with people who show the same values as you
So when I use LinkedIn it is rare that I connect with people who I don’t know. When I received requests from people who I don’t think I’ve met, I email them to start a conversation about why/how they came across my profile and why they want to connect.
It’s really important to make sure that I’m aligning myself with people who stand for the same things as me.
In addition to this networks are meant to be utilised and if your network is full of people who have no similar interests, values or attributes (so basically full of people who have nothing in common with you) your network will be useless to you.
Be active, interesting and relevant.
Don’t just repost articles all of the time. If someone has said something interesting in an article and you think your networks would get something from it, tell them why. You should be the hook, not what you’re giving them.
Don’t spam people
Don’t post 30 updates a day on the same subject or on any subject at all actually. Unless you’re provide social commentary on something like Q&A, The Voice or Celebrity Splash it’s really not necessary to keep posting all of the time.
Remember to post appropriate things at appropriate times on the appropriate medium.
Posting things like “today is dragging. How is it only 1pm. I just want to go home. FML” on a Wednesday while at work is not appropriate. Especially when your boss follows you on Twitter.
Be aware of your networks and who you’re reaching. I update my social media while at work but it’s mostly my LinkedIn page and they are articles related to things that I do or have a strong interest in. I also don’t repost anything that I don’t think at least five people will benefit from.
Use what is at your fingertips.
Subscribe to news feeds, to information on using social media, read LinkedIn Today, use TweetChat, join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, read newspapers, talk to your friends, learn about the world around you, use the internet. Talk about things that you’re interested in – it will spark conversations.