For most of us social media is a big part of daily life, letting us keep up with friends and families, stay informed and watch the latest funny cat videos.
But what many don’t realise is social media can also be used to stand out and build your career. “How?” you ask.
Well, think of yourself as a brand. Now think about how you want your colleagues, clients, bosses and future employers to think about you. When used strategically social media can influence people so they start to see you in a certain light.
Here are five ways to use social media to be awesome at your job.
1. Stay in the know
If you’re serious about wanting to progress in your career, you need to stay in the know. You need to keep up to date with the latest trends happening in your industry, what competitors are doing and even what your clients are doing.
This is where social media can really help. Most associations, companies and industry media publications have social media channels that pump out huge amounts of content which you can use to keep up to date. Giving you not only knowledge, but a competitive edge that will help you make great career decisions and maybe even impress the boss with your industry insights.
2. Show people you know your stuff
One sure fire way to be seen as someone who knows their stuff is to be the person that shares great information. However, stay in your niche. If you’re in marketing and you’re sharing updates on investing, you’re going to confuse people. The goal here is to reinforce that you know your stuff and you are a leader in your field.
3. Network with the right people
The principals of old school networking work wonders on social media but with the added bonus of not getting stuck with anyone you don’t want to talk to.
Want to mix with the people in your space who are the industry mavericks? Follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn, but most of all, interact with them. Comment on their posts, share their content or ask them questions. Just because you’re in the digital realm doesn’t mean you can’t have real relationships with people. Who knows, having great industry contacts could lead to interesting projects or even amazing job opportunities.
4. Pick the right channels to be seen
Obviously you have to think about the social media platforms that you can use to your professional advantage. Snapchat may not be as relevant to your career as LinkedIn. But on the other hand, don’t discount channels like Facebook and Instagram even though they tend to be used in a more personal manner. Depending on your industry some channels may have advantages over others. Find where your influencers are and follow them. If they’re on Twitter, get tweeting, LinkedIn, get connected and so on.
5. Personal versus professional
The questions is, can you use your personal social media profiles in a professional manner? Yes, but… Think of this as a scale with personal at one end, that has your drunken night out photos and rants about people and things that annoy you, and at the other end is professional, where you just talk about work stuff. There is defiantly ground in the middle. You can be both personal and professional – you just can’t get too personal.
If you wouldn’t talk about it with your boss or client while you’re having an informal chat, then don’t share it on social media. If that’s not possible then think about having separate personal and professional profiles.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field, and the director of CP Communications. Follow her at @catrionapollard.