Social media is an indispensable networking tool. It plays a pivotal role in making the world a smaller place and helping people do things they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to via traditional means.
For instance, a survey by CareerBuilder.com revealed that an estimated 45 percent of employers use social media to screen prospective employees and job applicants. Social networking is also a favourite with advertisers, marketers, those from the entertainment field, and businesspeople who earn their bread and butter by reaching out to more people.
Regardless of who you are, using social media to your advantage can reap rich dividends and enable you to not just connect with the global village, but also get valuable feedback and accomplish professional goals. Honing your online presence requires some homework and an understanding of human psyche, but once you get the basics right, you can be well on your way to becoming a social networking Sensei.
Social media for job applicants
Social media is a boon if you are on the lookout for a better career prospects. The catch? If you are going to share your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter information with your employers, you need to be well-groomed in basic ‘netiquette’. Make sure you leave cuss words, controversial status updates, photos of a drunken night out, and other similar no-nos out of your timeline or recent updates. You are, after all, trying to inch closer to that job, not get further away from it.
LinkedIn is the preferred social media site for those who have some work experience and can highlight their professional achievements. Your profile will attract more eyeballs if you write about your career goals in your summary, are given recommendations by former supervisors or employers, and join groups pertaining to your line of work or interests.
If you are a student and don’t have any work experience, build your knowledge base on a career field or subject you are really passionate about. Do your bit to become an expert in your own right and start a blog to showcase your areas of interest. Those with work experience can also use a blog in the same regard, but it is important to refrain from posting about past work experience.
If you are on Twitter, remember that it’s not just the number of followers, but the ones you follow that says a lot about you. Employers are more likely to get impressed if you follow industry leaders and companies of repute. Use your Twitter bio to promote yourself, but not so much so that you sound like an overenthusiastic salesperson.
Last but not least, use your personal website (if you have one) as the go-to for pitching yourself as a job applicant. Share your achievements, opinions, and links to the social networking sites on which you are active so that employers view you as professional and methodical. Use your site to promote yourself the way a tagline or catchphrase is used to promote a brand.
Social media for small and medium businesses (SMBs)
While it’s true that social media marketing for small businesses is a lot less expensive than traditional marketing, it is a misconception that you can get stellar results without spending a dime. You need to create a rock-solid strategy which would include using applications and advertising tools on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. All too many SMBs overlook Facebook advertising, and that’s a mistake. To have some influence in the social media sphere, you need to treat it as an investment and set aside a small budget to make your business a success online, as well as offline.
Using the right means to achieve the end is critical, and social media gives you many options to choose from. Businesspeople who want to interact directly with customers and spread the good word about quality of service would do well to consider Twitter as a quick response and redressal system. Facebook, on the other hand, is apt for longer conversations. LinkedIn is your answer if your goal is to connect with industry leaders and build partnerships or a vast professional network. Boosting brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sourcing targeted leads are exercises that can meet success on YouTube, FourSquare, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Simply put, go to the platform which is most frequented by your clients or target audience.
Small businesses have the advantage of seeming more personable than bigger brands that can come across as ‘too corporate’. However, there are umpteen businesses in the social media landscape. You have to stand out by ensuring everything you post, Tweet, or upload on your page is entertaining and has some value. Boring updates and automated spam will get you nowhere. The key is to engage and interact instead of market and broadcast.
Social media for everybody
1. Be orderly: If you have a job, it’s recommended that you keep your personal and business profiles separate on social networks. For one, posting or uploading personal opinions that may not be shared by many may cost you dearly. Additionally, your professional contacts will not want to know what you have been up to in your personal life. Mixing business with pleasure makes you look unprofessional both offline and online.
2. It’s a two way street: Success on networking platforms can only be established if you listen to people as much as you want them to listen to you. Social media, as the name suggests, points to back and forth communiqué, collaborations, and melting pots of thoughts, ideas, and pitches. You cannot expect to be heard if you don’t wish to do any hearing yourself. You need to give as much as you take.
3. Patience: Perseverance is a requisite for being skilled at social media management. Anything of value takes time to create, nurture, and sustain, and online communities are no exception. Numerous people create social media profiles with great gusto, only to have their interests dwindling over time because they aren’t seeing immediate results. Think of networking like constructing a house brick by brick- only here, you need to fortify your online presence content by content.
4. Think twice: The internet is forever. Once you post something on social media, chances are that someone has already seen or screen captured it even if you take it down soon after. As the adage goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.