Although popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be used for business purposes, the focus here will be on social media sites that are mainly for professional engagement.
There are dozens of professional social media sites, some are international household names e.g. LinkedIn, while others are highly regarded nationally or popular mainly locally e.g. professional meet-up groups.
The power in your profile
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Optimise your time and get the most leverage by using a limited number of international sites and well-respected localised ones so you have a strong presence both internationally and regionally.
Regardless of their reach or niche, they all have one thing in common…
They contain content and resources that can help you build your online profile and connect with other like-minded people.
Similar to a company’s website where its customers can see what they are all about, your online profile increases your searchability as most professional social media platforms have an international presence. This means that should someone only remember your name or a single detail about you, it can be used to find you and your professional information.
When using these platforms there are things you must do to maintain a professional image, make a great impression and benefit from all they have to offer…
The 5 ‘must dos’
1. Follow the rules
Breaking the Ts and Cs will not only get you suspended from using the platform, it can damage your professional image and ruin your chances of accessing future opportunities.
2. Boost your profile
Ensure your professional profile is filled in thoroughly and reflects you in a professional way.
Consider your content, the presentation of your content, your picture, and other relevant information such as recommendations and endorsements.
Also, filling in as many of the required fields in your profile and using the most relevant keywords for your profession helps you to rank highly in the platform’s search results. As many recruiters use the search feature to find suitable candidates, you will increase your chances of being found.
3. Leverage the additional features
Spend some time understanding the capabilities and services offered on each platform.
Professional social media platforms not only have great features for you to better market yourself; many of them offer additional resources such as job-search information, self-promotion tools and professional guidance.
Using these platform features can help you to increase your USP (unique selling point/proposition) and you can be viewed in higher regard when compared with similar profiles.
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4. Be respectful
Your professional social profiles are an online extension of your persona and reputation.
Practising proper professional social media etiquette isn’t something to easily dismiss. The way you communicate online should reflect how you would interact with someone in-person.
There are real people behind those professional social profiles so your engagement should create a genuine connection with others. This will show that you understand how to interact well with others which can translate to being a good team player by prospective employers.
5. Represent yourself consistently across multiple platforms
Consider using the same content, presentation and picture across multiple platforms platforms (where relevant as each platform will have its own unique requirements).
This shows you are thorough and consistent in your approach to tasks, as well as prevents confusion about your personal brand when you represent yourself consistently in your professional profiles.
It creates a sense of familiarity with you as a person because the message of who you are and the value you contribute is constant. This is a reassuring sign that you pay attention to the details and can be depended upon to get the job done properly.
This video will show you how to create a professional online profile for interviews, how to write a great LinkedIn profile and improve your online presence. Watch this video to know exactly how to increase your professional digital footprint!
Although the focus in this blog has been on international professional social media platforms, do your research to identify which other professional social media networks are niche to your profession, location or both.
Just as you would have a diverse investment portfolio to spread your risk, consider using these ‘smaller’ networks as part of your online portfolio to increase your visibility because they also provide outstanding benefits and sometimes unique advantages.
… remember, stay curious and keep learning.
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