Do I HAVE to Use Social Media?
By: Courtney Beam
Do you shudder at the thought of using LinkedIn? Maybe you have a LinkedIn but can’t remember the last time you dusted off the cobwebs from your profile? Or perhaps the mention of Twitter makes your head spin?
Social media networking is forever on the rise. If you’re like many professionals who’ve dug your heels in with the hopes that the craze would pass and you’d be off the hook… think again! As of today, Twitter has 313 million monthly active users and in April 2017, LinkedIn reported having 500 million users.
There are hundreds of social media platform choices. LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat to name a small few. Unless you’re looking to become a social media guru, there is no need to jump into every platform you can get your hands on. To narrow the focus, I’d like to discuss the benefits of LinkedIn and Twitter in a professional setting.
When thinking about how you want to spend your professional time and attention with social media, I’d encourage you to first think about what you are trying to accomplish:
Are you trying to build your network? One thing I like about Twitter it that it is a bit more casual of a networking environment than LinkedIn. On Twitter, it’s completely acceptable to connect with people you have never met. You can easily find and follow company profiles, local news sources, experts in a field you’re interested in or current employees at a company you may be targeting as a job-seeker. LinkedIn is a little bit different in that you should aim to know everyone on your connection list. Growing your LinkedIn network will take a lot more time and effort, but can lead to more valuable in-person networking opportunities than you may find with Twitter.
Are you trying to find a job? LinkedIn is the popular choice among job-seekers. Recruiters use LinkedIn daily to source for potential candidates to fill open positions. There is also the ability to use your existing connections to connect with people at your target companies. On the other hand, Twitter is often overlooked when it comes to looking for a job. Because of its casual nature, you can quickly connect with companies and their employees. Some companies even have separate accounts for job postings, company news and industry-specific information that you will find helpful when looking for jobs.
Are you trying to learn more? While LinkedIn was originally intended as a professional networking tool, it has become a rich source of competitive information, industry-specific blogs and other valuable content posted in real-time. It’s simple… the more people you follow or connect with, the more content you will see continuously updated throughout the day. Just remember, as with any good networking, there needs to be a give and take. Regardless of which platform you choose, people will not find you interesting to follow or stay connected with if you don’t bring anything to the table. I’m not saying you must write daily articles to share with your network, but if you want to enjoy the content of others, you’ll need to contribute too. There are several ways to find interesting and relevant information that intrigues others. I love using Smart Brief (http://www.smartbrief.com/) to source for interesting material. It allows you to sign up for industry-specific blogs that are emailed to you daily.
Social media allows us a larger voice than ever before, with the ability to reach other users globally. It allows us to stay connected in our increasingly busy professional worlds. Is this your first dive into social media? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!