At the mention of the term “social media” do you think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat? You’re right. But at the thought of the application of social media, do you think it’s all, pictures, tweets, videos, comments, source of funny memes, ways to clapback and act savage behind your phone or device? Well, that’s where it gets tricky because you’re starting to go off-track a little bit. Social media is a whole lot more than that.
According to Dictionary.com, social media is defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking”.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary also defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)”.
Social media is a term that houses different forms of media under it and these forms of media have been around way longer than you thought. (No, Facebook is not the first social media platform, it’s Six Degrees.) The idea of social media is built around networking, meeting people from different walks of life and forming connections. If you’re not doing that yet, you’re not fully harnessing the tools you have at hand, but no worries, you can get started today.
1. Build Your Brand
The mere fact that you’re on social media shows that you have a brand, whether you know it or not. The people you follow, the posts you like, the videos you share, they all come together to form your niche, your brand and ultimately, your personality. Consciously or unconsciously, your social media platforms reflect who you are as a person, build that. Your bio is a good way to start, wait no, your username. Let your username be reasonable. When in doubt, just use your full name or your brand name. Whatever it is, let it be reasonable, however you interpret that. Your bio or profile, in any social media platform, is a short description of yourself, right after your name. Make a good impression of yourself through your bio to attract the right people.
2. Your timeline is…you
Social media, as a networking tool, is the new hiring and networking method. Many professionals and employers look to social media platforms to verify potential employees, and social handles are now employment application requirements. Post, like, comment on and share what you would like people to see about you. Would the hiring manager of that company you’ve been seeking to intern seek to employ you based on the content of your timeline? This is not to say that you should not be free to post things on your timeline because you think people won’t like them.
Just let your profile and timeline reflect your personality and you begin to attract and interact people like minds.
3. Let your account be your mini-portfolio
This can’t be stressed enough. If you’re seeking to widen your professional and social network, let your work speak for you. Choose a particular social media platform that works best with your brand and consistently build on it. For example, if you’re a writer/journalist/blogger/, Twitter and Facebook are good places for you to consistently share your work. If you’re a photographer/painter or marketer (sell any types of products) or are involved in anything visually appealing, Instagram is a good space for you. It is also possible to have a business/brand account and a personal account on any media platform, if you can manage both.
Why your social media shouldn’t be your sole portfolio is because it’s just more professional to have a specific website where all your work can be seen at once.
A freelancer, for example, who works for different outlets wouldn’t want people going from one website or outlet to another to view and enjoy your brand. Social media accounts are also easy to hack and manipulate. It’s always advisable to have back-up.
4. Connect and Interact
Networking on social media doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a certain amount of effort. There’s almost no company or establishment that doesn’t have a social media platform. Follow them to keep up with their news and events, if there’s anyone you fancy and would like to be associated with. Make reasonable comments on intellectual posts. Find your niche and work with that. If you’ve been sending emails to someone with no response, reach out to them on their public social media space.
Show the world what you can offer, and people would reach out to you in return. Remember, you are what you attract.
Who knows your next employer or colleague might be on your TL!
5. Don’t get lost
There’s a whole beautiful world outside of social media that longs for your exploration. Take periodic breaks of platforms if you have to, so you don’t get lost in the constant happenings of the virtual world.
Don’t lose yourself in the chase of having followers, it’s mostly not worth it. Make and keep physical, real life friendships, they go a long way.
Work on and build yourself, on and off social media. You’ll meet and stumble on many different people with different characters and beliefs. Be confident in who you are and don’t compare yourself with anyone else. You are unique!
I hope this encourages you to make the best use of your social media platforms. It’s not just an avenue to waste your time and joke around. Make some sense out of it!
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