What can social media do for you?
Only a handful of months ago I would have told you that social media is useless, and a waste of time. Since then I have changed my mind. Social media is taking over, and it is a very useful tool when it comes to networking. Before 6 months ago I would have laughed at the idea of using Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, blogging, or any other form of social media. Now though, I think it is one of the best things you can do in order to make yourself known. The only trick is, is to stand out in a crowd in a positive light, and not in a negative light. Don’t stand out in a crowd just because you have done something so outrageous that people notice you. Stand out in a crowd because you produce good work, you show integrity, and you know the value of strong character. It is easy for us to get caught up in the moment and forget that the world can see what we are posting on Twitter, Facebook, and any other form of social media. Keeping those things in mind lets start by taking a look at what these social media platforms can do for you.
Who really wants to give status updates to everyone they know in 140 characters or less? More importantly who really wants to know what everyone is doing throughout their day, every five minutes? Once I decided to actually partake in figuring out what Twitter is all about, I found that Twitter is so much more than status updates in 140 characters or less. Twitter is an information sharing tool, often times people use Twitter as their main source of news. Twitter allows you to connect with people, this connection can be as broad of a connection, or as narrow as you want it to be. I for one have found Twitter to be a very useful tool in networking with professionals in my field of study. This is a good thing if I ever want to work in the marketing or advertising industry in the future. Twitter has also allowed me on several occasions connect with local advertising and marketing shops, and developing those connections has then extended them onto LinkedIn (which I will talk about more later).
Enough about Twitter, lets talk about blogging now, since this is in fact a blog. A while back I had a blog with no real direction other than my musings, and it was a huge failure. So I gave it up, and honestly was not thinking about picking it back up again, until I attended a discussion panel with some professionals in the marketing field in Portland. At this panel the professionals were talking about the importance of having an online presence. I met privately with one of the professionals and she talked to me about blogging, and the importance of it. So I set out to make a blog, this is what I have come up with, a blog focused mainly around sustainable marketing and advertising. This blog is not all about that subject, but mostly about that. This time around with blogging has been a better experience.
Blogs can be used to share your ideas, share information, and learn from others. By having a focused blog, it has allowed me to connect more easily with other people who are interested in the same things that I am interested in. Blogging, however, is not quite the same as other social media platforms, it is a platform simply to share content and your ideas, not something necessarily used to connect with old friends. I am still learning the art form and the science of blogging, but I think I am getting the hang of it.
Facebook is more of a platform to connect with old friends, share pictures, and keep everyone up to date with what is going on in your life. It is also a lot more than that though, much like any social media platform, it all depends on how you use it. Personally I only use it to connect with old friends and gain more of a reach for my blog, I also have used it to promote businesses. Generally though I keep my Facebook page private, while it used to be a respected platform that only college students could use, and MySpace was the platform with all the junk on it. Facebook is starting to become more like what MySpace used to be, and filled with junk. How much longer can Facebook sustain the negative things going on in the news about it? Who really knows.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that is only for professionals, it allows you to connect with other professionals, post your resume, and join groups in the professional field of your choosing. This allows companies to search your work history, look at the companies you have worked for, and where you went to school. More and more I am hearing of people getting hired by companies through LinkedIn, I am also hearing of companies only posting job openings on their LinkedIn pages. These things tell me that as a professional, if you are not on LinkedIn then you need to get on it fast. LinkedIn can also serve to help the potential employee of future companies help those companies learn more about them. I have my LinkedIn page linked to my Twitter feed, and it shows previews of all my blog posts as well. If there was ever a time that an advertising agency or marketing agency or other potential employer wanted to see my thoughts, ideas, and ability to utilize social media tools, then they could see all of it on my LinkedIn profile.
So what can social media do for you? Networking, networking, and more networking. More than that though social media is what you make of it. If you want to use it to connect with old friends, than you can use it for that. If you want to use it to network with other professionals than you can use it for that. And if you want to use it simply for advertising purposes, you might not get the most out of it, but you can certainly use it for that. One thing that I do love about social media is the interconnectedness of it all. I can link my Twitter and my blog with my LinkedIn account and vice versa. This potentially increases the reach that I have with all of my followers and potential followers.
How much longer will social media as we know it be around? That is a hard question to answer, and one I don’t think anyone could answer. There is a lot of speculation about how much longer these types of platforms can sustain. The truth is that social media platforms will always come and go, but most likely there will be another platform ready and willing to take over the places of the ones that leave. Which makes for an ever-changing advertising and marketing arena when it comes to social media, which is both exciting and scary.
If you want to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn, feel free to click on the links off to the side under the “Other Accounts” heading.
So what has social media done for you?
The Green Guerilla