Competition between businesses in America is becoming as cut throat as it has ever been, especially because of the rampant use of social media marketing, which can be used not only to promote businesses, but also people. Why is social media such a useful marketing tool? And how can you put it to use to promote yourself?
First of all, it is important to show that you know how to use social networking sites correctly. An increasing number of employers in this country are looking for candidates who are proficient in the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and the like. Building a personal image on the web can help you get a leg up on the competition. If these sites are unfamiliar to you, you could be passed over for more tech-savvy candidates.
Another reason to be active on social media is the personal connections that can be made. Whether it’s finding a person on Twitter that you can work closely with or someone finding you through a blog post, the opportunities for networking are almost endless through social media.
Why are these connections so important? What do they provide? Quite simply, they provide an audience for your skills and/or product, and they give you a chance to create a following of people with similar interests and skills. Connections with the right people can lead to better job opportunities that otherwise may have remained off your radar.
It may feel like a large undertaking to become active on social media. Undoubtedly, the time required for staying up-to-date on social media isn’t minimal, but the benefits of establishing new connections and maintaining old ones far outweighs the possible downsides.
How Do I Get Started?
It is important to gain a working knowledge of as many social media networks as you can. For networking and business purposes, LinkedIn is the most critical network to join. With 225 million users, this career-centered site provides individuals the best platform to interact with co-workers and other industry professionals. Twitter is good to use for making brief and initial connections with other companies and professionals. Facebook is the most popular social networking site, but at this point, it remains a more personal site rather than a place to market yourself. With all social media sites, it is important to remember that anything you post online can potentially be viewed, even if the information is placed on a site that is private to public searches.
Another important method for marketing yourself through social media is to start a blog. Blogging allows you to share comments, tips and expertise with individuals who have similar interests. Using blog server sites like blogger.com or wordpress.org, you can communicate messages out and use keywords to increase like-minded people’s ability to find your blog through browser searches. A key component of blogging is to keep content fresh, frequent and brief.
Other Social Media Pointers
It doesn’t look good if you have social media profiles but don’t use them, so make sure to be consistent with posting so content is always fresh. For LinkedIn, it is important to actively pursue business connections and post work-related content. Personal content should be minimal, considering LinkedIn is a primarily professional social network. Blogging is important if you have your own business, but don’t worry about posting every day; once a week is a good place to start when blogging about your career, your dreams and your goals. Finally, you can use Twitter as much as you need to in order to connect with people. Personal conversations don’t show up for all of your followers, so you won’t be accused of overusing the site. Plus, it’s very easy to use since you only have to type 140 characters per tweet.
On your site profiles, make your biographies interesting, funny and informative. This can be hard on Twitter because there are only 140 characters to accomplish that goal, but it only becomes more impressive when you do accomplish it. Create an online persona – maybe even a website if you have the time – and make your profiles consistent across all social media accounts.
Looking beyond the bio, make sure to share pertinent and relevant content related to your career or industry. If your main goal is to build a professional image, then sharing elements of your personal life isn’t necessary, but a professional photo might be. Your profile is how people get an idea of who you are as a person and a worker so think carefully about what and how much you share with the online world. Your profiles can help you build up or tear down your image, depending on your content.
Keeping several social media accounts alive isn’t easy, but the benefit of utilizing the connections and virally marketing yourself is too great to ignore.