Anyone that has ever tried a social media product (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat), knows how quickly the practice of posting little snippets can become addictive. We wonder what to blog about next, or which quick post will generate the most likes. We search the Internet; in a pursuit to find a funny quip, a serious statistic or a pearl of wisdom. We’re like Buddha, all so knowing and resourceful that we must share our thoughts online, for everyone in our network to see.
Our networks are a part of the social media experience. These individuals that we want to be virtually seen with or have them seen with us. Some of us are quick to add anyone that we meet to our networks, others care more about the quality of the individuals than the quantity of them. Depending on the social media product used, we may have different types of individuals and different networks – professional, friends or family or just acquaintances, but how we conduct ourselves online sets our online presence and this presence is what determines how impactful our social media displays will be.
Each of us has a brand and our virtual brand is wide reaching. People from around the globe can find us, identify with us and even reject us based upon an unpopular post. What we do online is in fact, the new resume of today. What we do online, stays within our digital footprint.
It is amazing when an innocuous post generates several thousand views, yet a post that you would believe would generate interest, only gathers a handful of views. There is no way to really know what your network is interested in and/or the topic that will resonate with them.
So, how do you select a topic to write or blog about? The answer maybe something that your educated about, a topic that you would care to explore or maybe something that you care about enough to tell your network. The last question for you to consider is, isn’t it worth making sure that your digital presence is not hype, but impactful?
Here’s the thing. Your impact should not be measured in views or likes when considering your brand. This really isn’t a popularity contest.
For those of us with careers outside of marketing, it’s less important that we have tremendous reach, massive follower counts, or social media star status.
What matters most is that your posts help to reinforce the reputation and personal brand that you work so hard on in real life.
No matter how small your reach is online, it will be greater than what you can achieve in person. It can deepen existing connections and help you to forge new ones, without any geographic restrictions.
If you want to build your online presence further, there are really just two main considerations.
First, it’s important to have a sense of decorum. The of-the-moment image-based quip you would post on Snapchat or Instagram, won’t play well on LinkedIn. Similarly, your analysis of industry trends that would garner attention on LinkedIn, will likely cause a series of unfollows on other platforms.
The good news is that you can learn decorum for these platforms pretty quickly and easily by just lurking for a while. Like any other social setting, you’ll get a sense of what goes over well, by observing others for a bit.
Setup an account and a profile on one or more of these platforms and spend some time hanging out there. What kind of people do you come across? What sorts of things do they post? What topics tend to be discussed? How formal is the tone?
Lurking online is easier than at a cocktail party, where it would certainly break decorum for you to walk around listening to everyone’s conversations without participating (or even introducing yourself!).
The second consideration is figuring out what to post. This is where you are building the history that will be discoverable by potential business partners, hiring managers, or other colleagues.
You have to post now, not knowing how the future may unfold. Just the same way you need to conduct yourself in person not knowing where it might lead. That person you just hired may be your boss someday. Someone on your team may start a new company. Your former CEO may know someone who is looking to hire someone just like you.
Thinking of social media in these terms can be helpful as you consider what to post. It’s a way to amplify your in-person presence. The big difference is that it happens across time and distance and groups of people.
But as long as you are consistently posting, sharing, and commenting in a way that you might in person (and professionally), you shouldn’t have much to worry about. You will be building a history that shows off your knowledge, interests, and willingness to engage.
It may be far more worrisome to have someone search for your social media presence and find a dearth of material.
© 2017. All Rights Reserved
Sue Bergamo is a former Boston area CIO and a Technology Strategist at Microsoft. In her spare time, she provides business and technical advice to companies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Catalini writes career boosting advice at tomcatalini.com. You can find his most recent book, Career Leap Year, on Amazon.com.
*The content within this article are the opinions of the author and are not sponsored by Microsoft.