We write a lot about using social media in education on this blog, but we have not talked much about professional social media. If you think about it, professional social media should be the future of most students as they get ready to embark on their careers.
You want to show your best side to people who may want to do business with you. It is not just about finding a job. That is if you optimize the correct social network to show that the best side, This is one of the main advantages of social media.
List of Social Networking Sites
So now we want to show our best side to someone on social media to foster a business type relationship. Which social networks should we look at to accomplish our goals?
LinkedIn — This is the mac-daddy of professional social media sites. LinkedIn is the one you need to pay attention to if you want to foster these types of relationships.
Facebook — You can use it for professional images. Best if your customers are local and you ship physical goods. It can also work well for Photographers, especially ones with a nature focus.
Twitter — Not great for connecting, but very useful for building an overall brand. It is also a good source of secondary traffic. Twitter gets you traffic, but not directly.
Quora — This is a great branding tool for social media. This one can help you too, but it is going to take work. Quora is about answers, and the best solutions, to the asker’s question, take the time to develop. You have to write and write well to gain a good following. It is not easy but well worth it if you can get there.
Medium — Wait Medium is pushing it as a social network. That is just a place for you to publish your stories. The main component of s social network is the ability it has to allow for the following, friending between users on the site and the ability for users to share content; everything else is just fluff to pure social networking. The Medium social network has the ability for you to follow people on topics, so at the base, it is a social network and can be a great source of building a professional image. Most business relationships require you to write something, so show off your skills and abilities.
Industry-Specific Social Networking Sites– You could go to class on all the different types of industry-specific social networks. These are typically split up into tribes. These take work in finding and getting into these social networks that are industry-specific. We will talk move about these later.
All these sites can are useful as a professional social media site you can use to build your image and expertise. After all, you went to college, or you may still be going. Isn’t the reason you are at college is to build a career in something. Unless you were born with wealthy parents, then making that career may fall solely on your shoulders.
Building Social Media for Business Purposes
Let us dig into our list of social media for business sites and see how we can use these to build our professional image during college and beyond. Building a Professional Social Image takes time. You can’t just say you are great, and everyone believes you are great.
I think that is one of the biggest obstacles millennials face. It is also one of the most primary reasons they are misunderstood. Okay, well, some of them are spoiled little brats who think they should not need to work for the greater good than just complain about what’s wrong. Society must be changed from the inside.
Of course, that is another blog post, as it may get opinionated. Another of the disconnects between Millenials and their parents is we were too soft on you. We did not do you any favors by letting your quit things. Yes, I’m just as guilty as anyone, I let mine quit things too. My Bad.
If you are planning on building a career in business at all, then you need to ensure to pay particular attention to your LinkedIn Profile. Wait you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, create one right now as the rest of this will be useless if you don’t have one. Go Ahead, get one built, and put a good picture of yourself, maybe your necessary information about any experience to date. Go Ahead. We’ll Wait for you to take the first step.
Being able to drink 12 shots in a row is probably not a real accomplishment to have on your professional social media profile, but winning an award at college would be even if you have nothing else. Building a career on LinkedIn takes time, and your timeline should display an accurate display of your accomplishments along the way. If they are career-related to what you think you would like to do, then you should probably post it and set a date of when it happened. LinkedIn is a professional social network; you should treat it as such.
Quora is a relative newcomer in the social networking space. There are a couple of other similar social networks that can be used to build a professional persona. The first rule of being successful with a social network is to obey the community rules. And that means learning the tricks. You mainly build your professional resume with Quora by showing intelligence is at least the ability to search correctly. People ask questions, and if you can provide the correct researched answer, then you can gain status. Medium is another one of these types of sites. They are all about you, showing off your ability to write. There is a reason your degree required a technical or business writing course. Quora and Medium are two places where you can accomplish those tasks with success.
Twitter has been around for a while and has gotten notoriety lately with all the political tweets. We won’t get into those here as this post is about helping you obtain your goals. Step one: define your goals if you don’t know how you can build your social networking profiles to help you with those goals. Twitter is a lot of work to keep up. It can become noise, and there is no way you can keep up with particular tweets. Twitter is more about building a brand as an authority.
Celebrities get millions and millions of followers, and Joe Blow can’t get any unless they proactively practice the follow no follow strategy. The goal with Twitter when using it as a professional social media platform is to gain targeted followers. That can sometimes prove difficult. An effective search strategy and targeting the correct people make all the difference. The great thing about this approach is you build a following of people who are on your targeted list of potential business associates.
Facebook is not for professional social media practitioners. You all likely have too much bad stuff on your profile already. Those parties are not something you want to broadcast to your business contacts. But you can still use it to build a brand. Facebook does seem to work great with people selling products to local people; it does take a lot to build a loyal following. A lot depends on the size of your local community. Photographers do seem to do very well on Facebook. You must grow an audience, and you must be able to show stellar work that makes people want to share. Unless you are in this industry, then Facebook is probably not a good fit for professional social media.
Industry Specific Professional Social Media Sites
Industry-specific social networks are forming as the social media market segments, and people tend to segregate into smaller groups. These are sometimes hard to find for your industry. You have to think about how you approach your search for a site dedicated to your particular industry. These professional social media networks lots of times are timeworn and have people as members who have been in your business for years. This can be a great source of knowledge as these old guys like taking on the right protege, and they will help you if you are respectful.
So how the hell to find an industry-specific social media site. Search your industry take a look at the websites that are well established, and look at their features.
I looked into my crystal ball and could not determine what your industry it, so I’ll give some generalized sites which you can build a social network across to help make your professional social media reach.
I have a background in education, so I’ll just point out a couple of what I consider to be some of the best professional social media sites in school. These sites all meet our essential social element of being able to follow or be followed by someone in some form.
First on the list is: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn – Wait, didn’t you also cover that before. LinkedIn has thousands and thousands of groups that are industry-specific. If you contribute to these groups, remembering the golden rule of ensuring both sides of a transaction receive similar benefits.
Scoop. It – Okay, Bruce, you are pushing it now, this is just a content curation platform. This is only for people with online businesses. That could also just be a website. Scoop.It allows you to follow people with similar interests, and a lot are professional. They are an excellent source to show off your work if you show the right users great content.
Paper.Li — This site allows you to build a following and create a newspaper type layout of your curated content.
If it has not become apparent by now, professional social networking is about building relationships, regardless of which part of your professional social media network. LinkedIn is the only professional network on this list. The others all require a combination of the other systems to produce desired results.