When you think of social media, what comes to mind? I picture hours of leisurely scrolling, lol-ing (more like internally giggling whilst my facial expression remains totally flat) while viewing dog videos and awful memes. We often label social media as a dangerous vacuum of time, distracting us from our studies and churning our brains into millennial mush.
But what if I told you that social media wasn’t all that bad? In fact, it grants us the perfect online space for building our professional profiles. Social media allows us to develop modern, desirable skills and to advertise ourselves as students and burgeoning professionals.
Here are some tips for taking control of your social media platforms, which should help you avoid the distracting pitfalls of cyberspace while raising your online, professional profile.
1. Pick the right platforms
Obviously a no-brainer. Think of which social media platforms suit your professional goals. Start with LinkedIn (I know it’s boring, but this site exists for a reason) and work up from there.
Are you an artist, videographer, or poet? Post your work on Instagram. Maybe you’re a student journalist or politician? Share the big stories in your field on Twitter. Budding business owner? Create a Facebook page and advertise away.
2. Seek inspiration
Find some big-name professionals in your field who you look up to, and note how they utilise their own social media platforms. Consider what works, what doesn’t, and model your own profiles based off what makes them successful.
3. Find your brand
What exactly are you trying to sell? Unlike personal social media profiles, your professional ones should be strictly catered to your work. Determine what makes your skills, services, or product unique to your field, and churn out content that fits it that’s authentic to you.
4. Consider your audience
Ideally, you’ll want someone to look at your social media profiles and immediately want to hire you. So think of who your dream boss or company would be, and play your platform as if they’re the ones viewing it.
5. Be consistent
The hardest piece of advice (and one I struggle with myself!) is sticking to a calendar for posting. From your personal social media endeavours, you likely know how important consistent posting is. Whether it’s a Tweet, Instagram photo, Facebook post, or LinkedIn endorsement a day, keep active. Your audience will notice.
6. Reach out
Another tricky tip (and one that makes social media, in fact, feel like a job in itself) is engaging with your online followers. Reply back to comments, follow other professionals in your field, and engage in conversation. Make yourself noticeable, and make yourself known.
Profile raising on social media is hard work, but it will set you apart when it comes to job applications, interviews, and gaining online skills. And remember – it’s not just about your numbers of likes, followers, and comments. When it comes to social media, the work you put in will be noticed by the audiences who matter, as long as you play to their expectations and produce content that you’re proud of.
So do your research, be consistent, and keep professional, and with time you’ll become a recognizable name in your field!