By now, we're all familiar with the idea that oversharing on social media can harm your career prospects. But on the flip side, social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, can be a great tool for boosting your career as well. No, we're not just talking about growing your follower count in order to become famous. We're talking smart and savvy ways to branch out and actually use your social media accounts as an asset for your career, whether it's growing your business, landing a job, or discovering a new career trajectory altogether.
We spoke with three women who have each used social media in different — and inspiring — ways and made it work for them professionally. From expertly expanding customer bases to navigating connections and leads, they've mastered how to take advantage of the digital space. Keep reading for five key takeaways to bring to your own accounts — you never know where it could lead you!
1. Be genuine
Keeping it real online is much easier said than done, especially since you're not interacting with others face to face. But sincerity is the number one most important quality to express when you're putting yourself out there, especially if you're looking to grow a business, noted Avon Representative Alicia Hessinger Dias. For the past seven years, Alicia has been exclusively using her Facebook and Instagram accounts as visual platforms to introduce others to the global brand and sell beauty products. This includes sharing new products, reviewing her favorites, and connecting with customers, both potential and existing, when they have questions or need feedback. Only by remaining authentic is Alicia able to create lasting, loyal relationships with her customers. "I'm organically posting things that I genuinely like, think are pretty, and am excited about," she shared. One tactic that she's found particularly useful in helping to build customer trust is something she likes to call "wear and share": "if you really like something and really use it, then share it. It's that simple."
2. Use it to show off your work
While this may not be ideal for everyone, Instagram can serve as a digital portfolio of sorts and help you and your work stand out. That's how avid Instagrammer Kelly Lack landed her current role as the content and community lead for up-and-coming travel app Spot. Kelly initially started an Instagram account to share photos of her frequent travels, but with her growing experience in the creative field, she realized that it could serve as a way to showcase her visual expertise and position herself as a savvy social media maven in the lifestyle sector. "Your accounts can double as a public portfolio for prospective employers, who can easily parse them and see what kind of content you can produce and what kind of audience you're able to cultivate," Kelly said. "Focus on presenting yourself as best you can, striving for consistency in voice and visuals and setting a high bar for everything you put out there. You never know where that next big break is going to come from."
3. Build a rapport
Social media can be a great way of seeking out connections and like-minded individuals, and you never know what could result from a simple interaction. Take it from Larissa Green, the social media editor at POPSUGAR, who has gotten almost every job simply by striking up a conversation. The key is treating social media as "a place for curiosity and conversation to thrive," she said. In fact, one of her very first internships out of college came about from responding to a tweet in a funny and cheeky way. "It positioned me as a candidate who truly pays attention to details." Once you've struck up a conversation, don't be afraid to turn it into something more meaningful. "Giving an opinion or claiming a stance is always what differentiates the masses from the discussion starters."
4. Keep in mind that anyone can be a resource
Valuable resources can come from the most unexpected of places, like your past, and you may be remiss to overlook them. "I can't tell you how many times people from prior jobs and friends of friends of friends from years back continue to be resources, all because we've kept tabs on each other via social channels and they are just a message away from an interesting lead that could turn into a story, a gig, or an entirely new career," Kelly said.
5. Know the best medium to reach someone
Not all platforms are created equal. Whether you're selling products, seeking out potential opportunities, or getting your body of work in front of the right eyes, choosing the right platform, and its demographic, is important. "The older crowd is more comfortable with Facebook, versus somebody younger who will be more active on Instagram," Alicia noted.
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