How to Use Social Media in Your Career
Do you think you should be on social media but don’t know where to start? What should you post, and how often should you post it? What’s more powerful, a like or a retweet? Here’s what you need to know about the most popular social media platforms for professional settings, whether you are looking to expand your network, build a business or find a new gig.
Social media is now a critical part of the way people in most walks of life communicate and a key part of how work gets done — from corporations to government. Reflecting how important social media can be, .
As social media has become more popular — an estimated — there are also more instances of people who have gotten in trouble for their social networking habits. The fact is that it’s impossible to separate the personal use of social from the professional, and everything you say online can and will be used against you. There are ways in which you can try to safeguard your privacy and control who sees particular content, but the onus is on you to be vigilant. So, the more seriously you can take your social media activities, the better.
Social media changes all the time, so it’s important to keep up with the evolution of the platforms and to keep looking for ways to optimize your use of the available the tools. (Twitter and Snapchat, for example, recently announced major changes that are described below.)
LinkedIn, with its 500 million members, is the quintessential professional network and one that’s not used as optimally as it could be. When I teach classes on social media, I ask “Who’s on LinkedIn?” and almost all the hands go up. But then I ask, “Who knows what they are doing on LinkedIn?” and most of the hands fall.
Most people just take it for granted and start using it in a panic when they have to change jobs. It’s often too late at that point. You are better off learning to use it when you don’t need it. LinkedIn works best when you use it as a career management tool and not just for job hunting.
Expanding Your Network and Influence
LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to expand your network by finding and connecting with relevant professionals in your industry. The key is to find, approach and connect with folks you already know, folks you’d like to know and folks you should know. You should also post your own content, showing off your expertise on a regular basis.
Learn to use to give and receive recommendations for people you have worked with in the past. You should give recommendations only to people whose work you are willing to vouch for. I’ve heard of employers who take recommendations on LinkedIn almost as seriously as ones received in more traditional ways. So if anything gives you pause, you should find a gentle way to turn down a request for a recommendation.
Building and Expanding a Business
On LinkedIn, you can create a company page and build an online community around it, getting customers and potential customers to follow you. To learn more about LinkedIn for business, see .
Finding jobs is the most important part of LinkedIn for individuals, and you can use the network to track specific companies, people and job openings. Spend time getting to know, in detail, the search features that let you drill down into networks of people, companies and job postings.
When you’re looking for a new job, numbers matter, so take time to build your network. But be sure to do it in a smart way: Blasting invitations at complete strangers in the hopes of connecting with either them or people they are connected with is not a good strategy. Instead, look for legitimate connections you have with people — your alma mater, for example — and reach out with an invitation to connect that includes a personal note.
Keep in Mind
LinkedIn’s free account works well, but you may want to experiment with the premium version. It comes in many price points, starting at $29.99 a month. That’s serious money, but if you’re job hunting, it’s worth paying for the features that include the ability to email people you don’t know yet through the site, and connect in new ways with recruiters.
Read More About LinkedIn
LinkedIn, Notorious for Sending Too Many Emails, Cuts Back
Finding a Career Track in LinkedIn Profiles
New Item on the College Admission Checklist: LinkedIn Profile
What Is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
Social media marketing (SMM) (also known as digital marketing and e-marketing) is the use of social media—the platforms on which users build social networks and share information—to build a company’s brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. In addition to providing companies with a way to engage with existing customers and reach new ones, social media marketing (SMM) has purpose-built data analytics that allow marketers to track the success of their efforts and identify even more ways to engage.
Connection: Not only does social media enable businesses to connect with customers in ways that were previously impossible, but there is also an extraordinary range of avenues to connect with target audiences—from content platforms (like YouTube) and social sites (like Facebook) to microblogging services (like Twitter).
Interaction: The dynamic nature of the interaction on social media—whether direct communication or passive “liking”—enables businesses to leverage free advertising opportunities from eWOM (electronic word-of-mouth) recommendations between existing and potential customers. Not only is the positive contagion effect from eWOM a valuable driver of consumer decisions, but the fact that these interactions happen on the social network makes them measurable. For example, businesses can measure their “social equity”—a term for the return on investment (ROI) from their social media marketing (SMM) campaigns.
Customer Data: A well-designed social media marketing (SMM) plan delivers another invaluable resource to boost marketing outcomes: customer data. Rather than being overwhelmed by the 3Vs of big data (volume, variety, and velocity), SMM tools have the capacity not only to extract customer data but also to turn this gold into actionable market analysis—or even to use the data to crowdsource new strategies.
How Social Media Marketing Works
As platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram took off, social media transformed not only the way we connect with one another but also the way businesses are able to influence consumer behavior—from promoting content that drives engagement to extracting geographic, demographic, and personal information that makes messaging resonate with users.
SMM Action Plan: The more targeted your social media marketing (SMM) strategy is, the more effective it will be. Hootsuite, a leading software provider in the social media management space, recommends the following action plan to build an SMM campaign that has an execution framework as well as performance metrics:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Compared to traditional marketing, social media marketing has several distinct advantages, including the fact that SMM has two kinds of interaction that enable targeted customer relationship management (CRM) tools: both customer-to-customer and firm-to-customer. In other words, while traditional marketing tracks customer value primarily by capturing purchase activity, SMM can track customer value both directly (through purchases) and indirectly (through product referrals).
Shareable Content: Businesses can also convert the amplified interconnectedness of SMM into the creation of “sticky” content, the marketing term for attractive content that engages customers at first glance, gets them to purchase products, and then makes them want to share the content. This kind of word-of-mouth advertising not only reaches an otherwise inaccessible audience, but also carries the implicit endorsement of someone the recipient knows and trusts—which makes the creation of shareable content one of the most important ways that social media marketing drives growth.
Earned Media: Social media marketing (SMM) is also the most efficient way for a business to reap the benefits of another kind of earned media (a term for brand exposure from any method other than paid advertising): customer-created product reviews and recommendations.
Viral Marketing: Another SMM strategy that relies on the audience to generate the message is viral marketing, a sales technique that attempts to trigger the rapid spread of word-of-mouth product information. Once a marketing message is being shared with the general public far beyond the original target audience, it is considered viral—a very simple and inexpensive way to promote sales.
Customer Segmentation: Because customer segmentation is much more refined on social media marketing (SMM) than on traditional marketing channels, companies can ensure they focus their marketing resources on their exact target audiences.
According to Sprout Social, the most important social media marketing (SMM) metrics to track are focused on the customer: engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks); impressions (how many times a post shows up); reach/virality (how many unique views an SMM post has); share of voice (how far a brand reaches in the online sphere); referrals (how a user lands on a site); and conversions (when a user makes a purchase on a site). However, another very important metric is focused on the business: response rate/time (how often and how fast the business responds to customer messages).
When a business is trying to determine which metrics to track in the sea of data that social media generates, the rule is always to align each business goal to a relevant metric. If your business goal is to grow conversions from an SMM campaign by 15% within three months, then use a social media analytics tool that measures the effectiveness of your campaign against that specific target.
Social media marketing tips
Create diverse content
Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns supreme when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and interesting. This includes:
Using social media for marketing enables your business to project your brand image across a variety of different social media platforms. While each platform has its own unique environment and voice, your business’s core identity, whether it’s friendly, fun, or trustworthy, should stay consistent.
Don’t just post—participate
In other words, don’t just log in once a month to schedule out all your posts. Social media channels are communities. You need to pay attention to who’s engaging with your content and engage back—respond to comments, like, share and comment on their posts, run live streams, post polls and real-time questions to spark discussions, and repost others’ content.
Use content creation tools
Don’t let anyone tell you that Instagram is the most visual social media platform. They all are! If you want to stand out in a person’s feed, you need to accompany your posts with attractive visuals—photos, illustrations, text turned into art. Content creation tools like Canva have templates and features that allow you to quickly create visuals that look professional, have your logo on them, and are consistent with your brand.
Repurpose, repost, recycle
- Repurpose: Create a Facebook post from a customer review, splice up a blog post into a series of Tweets, distill a case study down into a customer spotlight on Instagram; turn a webinar deck into a carousel post on LinkedIn. The possibilities are endless.
- Repost: To be done in moderation, but a great way to fill gaps in your content calendar. Repost on Instagram and retweet user-generated and influencer content. You can also curate content from authoritative sources and share those links in your posts.
- Recycle: Post your TikTok videos and Instagram Reels to YouTube; re-share your top-performing blog posts every month to get in front of new followers; add your Facebook Live recordings to your YouTube channel.
Curate your own feed
We’re always looking for ways to show up in others’ feeds, but we forget that there is value to be derived from our own. Follow your competitors so you can keep tabs on them, get ideas you can adapt to your own strategy, and identify gaps you can fill. Follow influencers to stay on top of trends and educate yourself. Follow brands that share your values or that have great content strategies for inspiration and outside the box ideas.
Measure success with analytics
You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your most triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them. And be sure to use the analytics within each social platform for even more insight into which of your social content is performing best with your audience.
Try paid social
Among the many reasons to advertise on social media is that it is a highly cost-effective way to expand your reach. If you play your cards right, you can get your content and offers in front of a huge audience at a very low cost. Most social media platforms offer incredibly granular targeting capabilities, allowing you to focus your budget on exactly the types of people that are most likely to be interested in your business. Below are some tips and resources for getting started with paid social media marketing:
Social media marketing services
As free and easy as each platform may be, a solid social media marketing strategy requires multiple platforms and often a mix of organic and paid methods. This can be resource-heavy, and while it’s a good problem to have, the more you grow your audience using social media, the harder it will be to keep up. Social media marketing services come in all kinds of shapes and sizes to help businesses get the most out of social media. For example:
- Social media management software: Social media management platforms like HootSuite and Sprout Social use proprietary technology to help more experienced social media marketers streamline their processes and get advanced analytics.
- Social media marketing agencies: Some agencies specialize in social media marketing only, like Akvertise or even just paid social advertising only.
- Digital marketing agencies: Just as one platform doesn’t do it for social media marketing, one channel doesn’t do it for overall marketing. Digital marketing agencies can help you to incorporate social media marketing into your broader strategy that includes email, website, SEO, and more.
- Hybrid services: Some offer a mix of the above. For example, LOCALiQ’s social advertising offerings use proprietary technology to manage your strategy and allow you to focus on social alone or as part of a broader plan.