Decide whether your social media accounts are for a professional or personal use. Photo: Getty Images.

The Professional Importance of Social Media

19 January 2017

A more suitable title of this blog would possibly have been ‘The Professional Importance of Building Your Personal Brand’ because at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing when using and posting to social media.

While many individuals commonly associate their various forms of personal social media with their personal lives separate from their work persona, increasingly the two worlds are colliding as potential employers, business partners and colleagues are able to see through the looking glass just as much as your family and friends when using social media.

You’re giving potential employers, friends, family (and total strangers who you’ll probably never meet in your life) a glimpse into who you are, where your passions lie and how you want the world to perceive you. Regardless of whether these accounts serve you in a social or professional manner, professionalism and behaving respectfully should always be considered especially when your reputation is at stake in either arena.

If you don’t want your personal social media to be looked at in this way then you should probably make sure your accounts are set to private. However social media should be viewed as an opportunity to put your best foot forward and increase the value proposition of your own personal brand.

So what are some of the ways you can take advantage of social media for your career or business:

You’re giving potential employers, friends and  family a glimpse into who you are on social media. Photo:Getty Images. You’re giving potential employers, friends and family a glimpse into who you are on social media. Photo:Getty Images.

1. Decide whether your social accounts are for a professional or personal use

One way that personal social media accounts are becoming increasingly important is because employers now routinely seek them out the same way they do a candidate’s resume. Social media profiles can be a great way for employers and potential employees to gauge a person's or company’s compatibility in values and culture.

One way to navigate this issue is to create two separate accounts, one for personal and one for public use. This tactic is becoming increasingly popular among professionals and the younger generation alike.

2. Check your privacy settings

Once you have decided what the purpose of your social media is make sure that the privacy settings are adjusted accordingly. This is especially true of Facebook which has different levels of privacy and isn’t as simple as the ‘private’ and ‘public’ toggles of platforms like Instagram.

3. Decide what you want to achieve

Now that you know you want to to have a social presence it’s time to craft what that looks like. Are you looking to move into a new industry? Do you want to become a thought leader in the one you’re already in? Are you looking to promote a product or service?

4. Then figure out what that looks like

Once you have set your goals you can achieve them through the power of social media and the best way to figure out what that looks like is to find role models, or people and brands that are already portraying the type of image you want to convey.

Take cues from them but filter that through your own personal tone and identity and then be consistent with what that looks and sounds like.

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.

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