Social media has a reputation as a place for sharing boring details of what you had for lunch or frivolous pictures of kittens doing cute things, but it can be so much more.
In fact, social networks are now a fabulous place to grow, share and connect with the kind of people that can help you further your career – learn how to leverage sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram professionally with a few of our top tips.
Think about the image you’re projecting
It doesn’t mater whether you’re sharing images on Pinterest or chatting on Twitter, you need to take stock and think about the kind of impression you’re giving. If you’re using social platforms purely for fun, it’s fine to be irreverent and silly sometimes but when there’s a chance that a potential future employer or client might see your activity, it’s important to be professional and respectful in your posts.
Understand privacy settings for all your sites
You don’t have to say goodbye to sharing silly pictures of your pets or having a laugh online with your nearest and dearest just because you’re using your social media as a professional calling card. What you do need to do is get used to the privacy settings of your favourite networks. On sites like Facebook, you can set up rules that give you very tight control over who sees what – you can even tweak this on a post by post basis – perfect for getting the balance between personal and professional right.
Create a consistent profile across all channels
By the same token, it’s a really good idea to make sure that when you have multiple social accounts – on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and so on – your profile on each is consistent. It doesn’t have to be identical, you might want to highlight different parts of your personality or interests on each platform, but you do want to come across as an authentic, rounded person. Using similar public user names – for example the name of your business or your full name – will make it easy for people to find you across all platforms.
Be ready to connect and share
Social platforms only work because people are willing to get out there and connect with people. Don’t be snobby when it comes to making friends and don’t be shy of asking someone to connect. If you meet people at corporate events, send them a friend request or invite without stressing over the details. Be generous when it comes to sharing or retweeting the people you make friends with and they’ll be much more likely to do the same for you.
Be friendly, watch out for oversharing and remember that while connecting online can be fantastic for boosting your professional contacts, there will come a time when it’s a great idea to arrange a call or a meeting in person so that you can take the friendship offline.
What are your top tips for using social media in your professional life?