How have you used social media platforms to network with other professionals and grow in your career?
For many business owners, networking opportunities are moving online. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are replacing face-to-face conversations while expanding our ability to interface with professionals worldwide. If you aren’t sure how to use social media to expand your professional network and drive your career advancement, read what our panel of business professionals has done.
Jerome Myers, Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of DreamCatchers and The Myers Development Group. Find him at jeromemyers.co
Be a Resource to Others First
I’ve used social media to create an international network of highly resourceful professionals who are excited to help me overcome my challenges. As my business grows and I encounter challenges, it is extremely easy for me to reach out to others for support who know, like, and trust me because of our social media relationship.
I think the part I like even more about the network is their lack of hesitation to ask for my guidance on the things they are working on. Being someone who grew up middle class and working in a capital-intensive industry necessitated me cultivating a new peer group. I couldn’t have done that without social media.
Be open. I see so many people only looking to connect with people they believe can help them based on their title or external appearance. It is more about figuring out how you can serve others with your gifts. [Serving] allows you to get into a place of significance in the lives of others, which will lead to new opportunities and introductions. If you see networking more like a box of chocolates and you try new people with positive expectations, good things happen.
Post Content Regularly
Utilizing social media platforms has helped my visibility in terms of being [discovered] by clients across the nation. Each month I set up a marketing calendar based upon one theme and then [break it] down into four subcategories related to the theme. On the calendar, I determine what I will post four days of the week (Monday-Thursday), utilizing images, videos, and articles. By posting four days a week, I am working to become a familiar name, as well as increasing what I am known for.
In addition, the use of videos on social media allows potential clients to get a sense of what my coaching style is like, and it allows current clients to use the posts as reminders of strategies and tools to support their work outside of our sessions. Not only is it important to have a social media marketing plan and post regularly each month, but it is also important to say yes to any opportunities that make sense for your brand and which provide you with visibility.
Networking Through Facebook Groups
Facebook groups led me to meet fellow enthusiasts. When I started the company, woodworking was not well known as an art and a hobby to many people in our area. By joining Facebook groups, I met a lot of people with the same interests, and we were able to discuss and collaborate with each other. I was able to learn a lot from them, and I was also able to share my insights and expertise. It was also through Facebook that I was able to introduce our company to other woodworking enthusiasts, so social media has really helped me in my professional growth.
Engage With Others to Learn New Skills
One of the ways social media platforms have helped me is by allowing me to upskill. I was not qualified for internships or job openings since I didn’t have experience in social media marketing. There were no open opportunities for me. So, I made one. I made my own blog and used it to study the metrics and analytics so that I [could learn] social media marketing, one of the high-paying jobs online. Another benefit was it made me learn about SEO. It helped me so much in my professional career because it not only helped my blog but also helped other’s businesses.
My tip for growing your network is [to join] multiple groups on Facebook and engage with people on LinkedIn. Facebook is like the personal version of LinkedIn, but it has many different groups where you can grow your network, which allows you to connect to like-minded people.
Connect Through Shared Knowledge
Primarily, I use social media to connect with fellow professionals in the industry. LinkedIn has been a great platform for connecting with other professionals.
I have always looked at social media as a space to flaunt my knowledge of the industry and to help other professionals navigate issues within the niche. As such, I went out of my way, from the beginning, to create content based on thought leadership and providing value for digital marketers and startup owners. This [approach] helped me build great professional networks.
Growing a social media following, especially when you’re a professional, requires great content and engagement. One needs valuable content in order to attract people to their profile. You also need to engage your followers in order to build much-needed connections.
Learn the Ropes from Others on the Same Path
As a blogger looking for ways to grow my audience, social media has been instrumental in helping me gain the knowledge and find the tools I needed for success. When I started my first website in 2019, I joined a few Facebook groups for bloggers. It was in those groups that I learned about SEO strategies and how to use Pinterest.
There were some recommendations on courses that I took which helped me tremendously. I was able to form connections with others in my niche to help grow my business and learn from bloggers who were more experienced than I was. If you want to grow faster, connecting with like-minded business owners who can show you the ropes is a great way to do that.
4 Ways I Use Social Media to Support My Career
1. I started by making a professional profile on LinkedIn. I also updated my career information on Facebook. So, although I am not currently looking for a new job, it does make it easier for recruiters to find me.
2. I take part in online job platforms. I follow and take part in various career-related discussions and have chatted with a few recruiters and other people who can hopefully help boost my career.
I try to interact with like-minded people as I can, especially on Facebook. We discuss our careers, swap valuable tips and insights, and generally just try to help each other to move up the ladder.
3. I have been using social to search for and contact companies in my field of expertise. It is a good idea to network and make connections so that you are kept up to date with possible new job openings and industry trends.
4. I have also found that Twitter and Facebook contain great insights, trends, and activities regarding the corporate world that can help me get new ideas and perspectives on my career development.
Make Sincere Connections
The most significant benefit I got from social media platforms is that they allowed me to interact and establish connections with people in the industry. By doing so, I have heard different views and opinions from experienced people, which helped me [become] a better marketing professional. When growing your network, ensure that your social media platforms provide all the information you need, so people will find it relevant to connect with you.
Moreover, don’t just send a message when you need something. Start by frequently commenting on posts so you can get other’s attention and establish relationships. Give importance to these relationships by remembering them on special days or cite them as sources during your content creations. They will reciprocate, making your relationship stronger, helping you gain more connections.
Strive for Quality Interactions
Prioritize the quality of your work above the quantity. While it may be tempting to connect with everyone under the sun, it is typically the deeper relationships that produce fruit. Investing in a select few individuals may be a better use of your time. To strengthen existing relationships, be deliberate about engaging with the appropriate individuals.
There are some groups that link you with individuals who share your professional and educational interests, making it simpler to connect with people who can bring value to your professional network. When you make a connection, don’t wait until you need [something] to reach out.
Conduct some research before meeting with a colleague to infuse your conversation with substance. Inform yourself about the person’s activities at work or in the community and make the discussion engaging for them.
Become Part of an Online Community
Participating in online career platforms is a great way to advance your career. Career-related discussions abound on online platforms with a focus on hot topics in the business world. In most cases, such communities will be influential and helpful in advancing your career. Participating in online career and job search communities can provide you with useful information for furthering your career. Furthermore, such groups can help you connect with recruiters and other like-minded individuals who can help you advance your career.
Genuinely Engage with Others
Let’s be honest, the old ways of ’networking’ just don’t work that well anymore. So, if we’re not handing out business cards or attending awkward networking events, what can we do? Leverage social media.
Most people associate social media with airbrushed photos and influencers trying to make a quick buck by selling you a product you don’t need, but that is so 2016. In 2021, the way to grow your influence and advance your career on social media is through authentic engagement, and it’s a lot easier than you’d think.
So, what is engagement?
Engaging with your community in [the same] way that you would want your ideal clients, or prospective career-propelling connections, to engage with you. Ask them meaningful questions, address them by name, and do your research to help find some commonalities between both of you. It can be as simple as you both are dog owners.
The whole idea with engagement is to come from a place of:
A.) Wanting to genuinely get to know someone
B.) Having the desire to provide value to your community
C.) Being in it for the long run to build solid connections over time that stay in your circle for life
Actively Discuss Topics with Those in Your Field
Social media has helped me stay on top of industry trends in my career. Additionally, it has given me the chance to be a thought leader in my industry and expand my network. By posting regularly on topics that affect the tech industry and commenting on issues raised by others, I’ve managed to connect with top talents in my profession. I keep learning and improving my skills daily because of social media.
My number one tip for anyone looking to grow professionally through social media is to join communities that host people in your field. On those networks, be an active member by starting and contributing to topics being discussed. Follow up on everyone you interact with and request a professional connection.
Don’t Discount the Value of Twitter
While LinkedIn is usually accepted as the social media platform for professional connections, I’ve gotten a lot of use from Twitter. What I like about Twitter is how easy it is to connect with journalists and media professionals. It’s a lot more casual than LinkedIn. Following someone on Twitter doesn’t come with the same implications as sending a LinkedIn connection request. It can just signal that you’re interested in their content. While requesting to connect with someone outside of my industry or local area can seem a little weird on LinkedIn, a Twitter follow of someone you don’t know is standard.
By following both journalists reporting on tech issues and other professionals in tech, I’m able to keep up with developments in my field while also building a professional network. It also provides me with a handy platform to share concise thoughts about marketing, operations, analytics, and other areas I have experience in. My advice to anyone looking to grow a professional network on Twitter is to let the algorithm help you. Follow people in your inner circle. Then, look to see who they’re following, interacting with, and retweeting.
How You Use Social Media Matters
Since the early days of my career, I have been pretty active on both LinkedIn and Twitter. Let me explain why [I use] these two.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the all-in-one virtual meeting place of professional individuals located around the world. When networking on LinkedIn, strictly within my niche and school of thought, I found countless possibilities and learned some of the things that helped shape my career in the future, eventually leading me to launch my own business.
When it comes to Twitter, it is the best spot for connecting with industry influencers and trend-setters. Twitter is where I made several advancements into my niche-relevant influencers club based on authoritative content and communication in data and SaaS industries – not just blind social postings.
So, newcomers in the practical world who are seriously in the building-oneself game should follow these steps:
- Always talk, talk, and engage on social media! That is why it is called social media. Do not rely only on content share and reshares.
- Keep the amount of content-based sharing minimal, and original words of your mouth at maximum.
- Be specific, niche-relevant, and interact with like-minded [individuals] only for productive results.
- Content sharing on social platforms should mainly have graphical work: infographics, info images, animated graphics, etc.
Make Use of All the Platform’s Features
LinkedIn has many helpful features, and some of the ones that have aided me most in my professional growth journey are recommendations provided by my connections and a detailed list of my personal accomplishments. As a professional aimed at growth, you want to be set apart. What have you achieved that no one else has? What are your unique strengths? And how can you prove it? LinkedIn has allowed me to present who I am and who I want to become as a working professional.
Growing your network should be intentional and not solely based on numbers. Create mutually beneficial relationships by giving and receiving recommendations for one another and interacting with posts.
Shine a Spotlight on Yourself Just as You Are
Social media has helped me create a good reputation. It has made people aware of my existence in the marketing field, which made me one of the sought-after speakers and coaches in this industry. It has also helped me spread knowledge to current and aspiring marketers, making me a more credible and reliable source.
Tip when building your network? Be authentic. Your authenticity will make people trust you more and value the relationship that you have established with them. If you are true to yourself and others, you will not be worried about maintaining an image that will eventually be tiring and exhausting.
Use Metrics to Strategize for Success
Social media platforms have proved to be extremely helpful in my career. When it comes to networking with people, nothing beats the efficiency of these platforms.
I have engaged customers and used social media to boost the marketing campaign of my company and made use of the various metrics offered by these platforms to understand the needs of our customers better while being abreast with the trends of the market.
Growing a network on social media sounds a little too easy, but in reality, it requires well-planned strategies and efficient research techniques. The best way to build a community is by personalizing marketing campaigns to suit the target audience’s needs. Relevancy of the content posted on social media handles with the ongoing trends also plays a central role in boosting engagement. Businesses should track the online activities of their prospective customers through various analytical tools and tailor their campaigns accordingly to maximize their reach and visibility.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.