Over the course of the last two decades social media has gradually grown from an occasional means of digital entertainment to become a standard part of everyday life.
Some individuals think of social media as a way to share their thoughts and life experiences with friends and family. However, an increasing number of people are starting social media platforms provide a means to promote themselves and even propel their career to new heights.
In this capacity it serves as an effective networking tool that helps maintain connections throughout the business world. Yet knowing how to make the most of your social media exposure, what to post, when to post it, and how you present yourself can be a little bit hard to understand.
Jesse Fewell is an author and certified instructor helping companies all around the world with agility training. This freshly expanding skill is essentially the ability of an organization or individual to rapidly adapt to new changes in the marketplace and business environment with a focus on cost-efficient productivity.
Jesse Fewell also counts social media amongst his arsenal of tools for business as well as self-promotion. His interest and first forays into social media started with basic blog writing in 2006. “Eventually, it turned into an enjoyable hobby that also helped me connect with other people,” Fewell explained.
Today social media platforms abound, and it can be hard to know just which outlet is best for you and your goals. “If you want to position yourself for career advancement you should be using social media on a relative frequent basis.” Fewell added.
“It’s human interaction without the overhead of having to come up with something witty to say at a cocktail party. It gives you the chance to think about what you want to say and take the time to look up information before you put it out there for the world. It can be especially helpful if you are not a natural extrovert or you have a more introverted style.
For some people Facebook and Instagram are fun ways to keep up with family members, old friends, and even make the occasional new social media connection. However, when it comes to promoting yourself in business or advancing your career Fewell advocates keeping your platforms limited to three or four at most. His personal menu of social media platforms includes Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Among these three options he prefers using LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is not always understood by everyone. Many people think of this social media platform as simply being a place to park your resume and maybe read an industry-specific article or two. Yet, these days more and more prospective employers are even requesting links to someone’s LinkedIn page as part of the online application process when vetting potential new candidates.
Fewell notes that there are ways to maximize your exposure and success on LinkedIn. “You don’t want to put out a bulleted list of your resume and what your responsibilities were for each position. Instead, you want to offer up a paragraph or two that tells a narrative,” Fewell explained. “Convey a story about how your experiences can take you where you want to go!”
This approach allows you the opportunity to not only put your acumen on display, it also gives you the opportunity to draw potential new followers and connections. This can be especially helpful if you are an entrepreneur and you need to draw potential new clients to your startup, but you don’t have the liquid budget to spend on traditional advertising.
At the same time, there are more ways to maximize your LinkedIn and social media exposure that go beyond shedding light on your resume related experiences. LinkedIn also gives you the ability to create and curate content.
This could come in the form of an insightful piece that you put together about your own industry experience, or an important lesson you learned in the here and now that is worth sharing. Even if you are not a proficient writer or you simply can’t think of anything important to say, curating content can be just as beneficial for promoting your professional pedigree. “The theme here is about painting a picture of your personal branding,” explained Fewell.
“It can be as simple as finding something interesting on a professional news site, an industry source or a business review,” Fewell notes. Putting something up for other people to intellectually digest helps cultivate the perception that you are well-read and insightful.” It encourages people in your network to keep coming back to read what you have to say or share, and maybe even share it themselves.
How often you post something on social media can depend on you and what your goals are in the short and long term. “I try to post something of value at least once or twice a day,” Fewell suggested. The internet and social media have started to develop a reputation for information overload. Posting something once or twice a day helps maintain your presence, without necessarily overdoing it.
He further notes adopting a philosophy of “Preparing for the rain.” Even if your career is in a good place at the present moment using social media can help expand your current opportunities. The last thing you want is to do is wait until you are unemployed to try to dump 5-years of social media content onto your LinkedIn page, in hopes that it will impress a prospective new employer.
Even if you are disciplined enough to limit your social media platforms to three or four, it can still be somewhat daunting to manage posting one or two pieces a day. Fortunately, there are social media management apps and software that can help like Sprinklr and Hootsuite.
“Personally, I like to use Buffer,” said Fewell. It is available as an app that you can download onto your phone. When you put up something to be digested on social media, it will automatically post it for you at the right time,” Fewell explained.
There’s no doubt about it. Social media and its various platforms are here to stay, and likely to continue to innovate its way into how we live our lives, promote ourselves and do business. By finding three or four effective channels that fit your style, and maintaining a consistent presence, you not only increase the popularity of your personal network, you also have the chance to open doors you might not even know are there.