Post by Kiersten Bagley
The internet – it’s not just for cat photos and animated gifs anymore. It’s a networking tool. I was recently invited to an event hosted by the University of Memphis Journalism Department and was asked to be on a panel of “Pros” and share advice on the power of internships. Side note: I’m a great case study – see the post. From both the professionals and emerging professionals panels, there was a similar underlying message: social media can make you or break you in the professional world.
Here’s a short round up of tips and some answers to questions posed by the audience:
1. How do you blend your professional presence with your personality? This one is simple, really. @HowellMarketing always says on open online platforms, 80 percent is business, 20 percent is your personality (what you like, your passions, where you are, what you’re eating – if you must). I always say, “If you wouldn’t say it to your momma, your teacher or your preacher, don’t say it online.” Share content relevant to your professional goals. Are you a graphic designer? Share articles about typography or new techniques. Your future employers and/or clients want to know that you’re intrinsically curious about your profession and that you’re continuing your learning experience.
2. Don’t protect your tweets. Open up, manage and groom your personal brand. You choose what you post, choose wisely. Social networks such as Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram are different animals. They’re very personal and you might not want the whole world seeing your home, knowing where your kid go to school, etc. Twitter and LinkedIn should be the world’s window to who you are as an individual and a professional.
3. Have you Googled yourself? Clean it up. You’ve had your social media accounts for years. You might have posted a risqué photo or status you’re not so proud of a few months (or years) back. Go through your own history because, I assure you, someone else will. I am a big proponent of researching new contacts, potential employees and clients via Google search. Don’t assume anything is private. Messages, photos or otherwise. Anything is discoverable.
4. Get a LinkedIn profile and keep it up to date. I have clients who find business through LinkedIn. They rely on it to find references or people in common. I have attended countless meetings in which the person I was meeting with for the first time had already looked me up and “cleared” me through LinkedIn. Highlight your scholastic and professional achievements. Research other companies and who works where; embrace the power of the network.
What has paid off for you and what suggestions do you have to add?