Goals 2014: 2 Action Points To Add Value To Your Professional Social Media Strategy

How LinkedIn Are You?

How LinkedIn Are You?

How often do you update your LinkedIn profile, compared to your professional Blog, Facebook, or Twitter content?  Go on, be honest.  Here’s another question: What goals are you addressing by using social media for professional purposes?

Don’t worry, you are not alone if you said you: refreshed your LinkedIn presence much less frequently than your other profiles; have no specific outcome related to your social media posts.  With the sea of media out there to dip into focusing on creating content can be difficult.

Recent coverage of professionals use of social media

This week two writers, Paul Boag* and Ross McGuiness** have separately pointed out that LinkedIn can be a real asset to advancing your work life goals, if you use the platform strategically.

Writing as part of the In Focus section within the Metro  Ross’s article highlights the value of building up an organic network of connections, via LinkedIn.  Connecting with people outside your immediate circle, can mean you get to offer your talents to an ever widening pool of curious people, who are already interested in your skill set.  Those connections can be in another city, country or continent.  You get attention in Denver, Delhi or Darlington if you want it.

The blog post Paul wrote reminded me of the advantages in keeping profile content fresh.  Your connections and other visitors like to dip into fresh material.  Your well-presented comments about your latest project, or newly acquired skills are valuable.  So are your contributions to discussion threads.

What actions can you take to sharpen your social media use?

I think there are two actions for you to add to your schedule this year (or focus on if they haven’t had too much of your attention before now).  These actions will help you if your goal involves consolidating your professional reputation on LinkedIn, or other social media platforms in 2014.

  • Update your content on a regular basis, to reflect your recent achievements, your newly acquired skills, or freshly gained qualifications.
  • Connect where possible to others with shared professional interests.  If that is not an option contribute regularly to online discussions about current key topics affecting your work area.  Perhaps you could even start a new conversation, based on your knowledge of upcoming trends?

Good luck with sharpening up your goal and turning your LinkedIn presence to your professional advantage.

Do check out the Archive section for more thoughts on work and life issues and feel free to look at the further ideas relating to your work and life goals on Facebook and Google+ too

 

*Paul is @boagworld on Twitter

** Ross tweets as @McGuinessRoss

Goals 2014: Three Key Posting Tips

Happy 10th birthday Facebook!  It is a long way from an audience of Harvard students in February 2004 to a global audience of 1.23 billion in 2014.

All those users face a dilemma: how do I achieve my goal of representing myself well online?  I’ve blogged (in the related tweet above) about the challenges of managing a credible personal brand on social media before, most recently after 2013’s Business Show.

How will you manage your brand this year?

When it comes to your 2014 posts, how will you manage your personal brand?  From what I can see it helps to keep posts:

  • Professional – bearing in mind regularly posts about getting wasted the night before might not impress a future employer
  • Succinct – staying on point, in fewer than 500 words, helps your reader focus on your message
  • Visual – readers appreciate eye-catching elements

How do your posts reflect your values?

It also helps to be mindful of your key values when posting.  What story are you telling about yourself?

If you are looking to make an impact on a wider community from a position of knowledge your advice and commentary could attract a strong following.  Posting on a regular schedule would make you an important presence in others’ lives.

How are you managing your data?

How mindful are you about data protection when you are online?  A bit of thought probably helps, as more and more of us contribute to the pool of Big Data being waded through by large organisations.

The goal of the European Data Protection Day (on 28 January) – branded as Data Privacy Day in the US – is simple: to inform the public about how their online data is collected and processed; helping to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

So, taking all of this into account, would today be a good day to start managing your digital self more thoughtfully?

Click to Visit me on Facebook

What’s Next?

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Would it be great to be 25 years old again?  What if you could view the rest of your life as you did then, with every possibility still open to you?

Life would be the most delicious treat, a cake perhaps from which you have only taken one slice.  You could then make positive changes whose impact would be felt over the next 50, or 60 years.  The rest of your life could be incredibly memorable.

A query in the Guardian Work blog explores the territory of later life choices, from the vantage point of someone at the age of 55.  He is trying to find his occupational passion to improve the final part of his working life.

It makes sense to ask ‘what do I want to do now’, since the latest Office for National Statistics figures show a man of 55 can expect to live for another 12 years.  Life expectancy for women is slightly longer.

The question is, if you have the choice, what should you do with the remaining 20 per cent of your life?

You can see the below the line comments if you click the link below.  My views are shown there (I’m Roger AD) and you can see them on Twitter too (where I am RogerD_said)

http://www.theguardian.com/money/work-blog/2013/sep/23/job-inspires-passion

Anti Social Media

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve posted about social media before, so it is no surprise to say that Paris Brown gets some of my sympathy.

Imagine being 17 years old, casually Tweeting your thoughts to your mates, and a year later holding a post as a youth Police Crime Commissioner in Kent, where your words are regarded as anything but casual.  Talk about making your growing up mistakes in public.

 

Many of us are learning the hard way that Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and their peers are not transient media.  It is difficult to put a favourable context on what Paris Brown said.  She got it wrong.  An apology after the fact for ‘any offence that I have caused’ sounds increasingly like damage limitation.  Deleting the Tweets won’t mean they will be forgotten.  Bottom line, it is difficult, but not impossible, to erase a digital history.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2013/apr/05/how-to-delete-yourself-from-the-internet-video

 

In a sign of the times the British Library is to store some social media output for posterity.  Perhaps every social media user needs to act on a simple goal: to use their chosen medium in way that would reflect their personal brand positively, if what they wrote was to be saved by the British Library.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9977188/Teenage-PCC-apologises-for-showing-off-with-offensive-Twitter-remarks.html

Digital footprints

I’ve blogged about thoughtful use of social media before – most recently in the October 2012 post In Cyberspace Not Everyone ‘Likes’ You  – however a spate of recent stories caught my eye.

 

Black Eyed Peas anyone?

Black Eyed Peas anyone? (Photo credit: Twitchietai)

First, there is the revelation that seemingly innocuous ‘Likes’ on Facebook can reveal much more personal detail than users imagine.  According to a Cambridge University  study, quoted in the press, important facets of one’s personality such as social standing; religious identity; even sexual orientation are – supposedly – discernible from what users say on the platform.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/like-curly-fries-youre-clever-like-motorbikes-youre-not-the-science-of-facebook-likes-8530101.html

 

Then there is the sobering thought that if you get into a virtual feud with someone on Twitter they may very well track you down, for a very real confrontation.  If in doubt look at what boxer Curtis Woodhouse did to confront the critic who mocked him on line.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/mar/12/english-boxer-curtis-woodhouse-twitter-troll

 

Finally, there is recognition that young people are savvy consumers of new media but are not necessarily skilled in producing it.  Former Black Eyed Peas vocalist Will.i.am has donated £500,000 of his own money to the Prince’s Trust to support the development of young people’s knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the STEM subjects) where skills are lacking.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21747206

 

Unless we choose not to have a digital presence, these stories indicate we should carefully decide just how we manage our online life.  They also nudge us to develop our relationship to new media / technology so that we keep up to date as they grows in influence.

In Cyberspace Not Everyone ‘Likes’ You

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

I tried explaining social networking to an older relative recently.  It’s based on identifying yourself on the internet, I said.

 

There was a sharp intake of breath from across the table.

 

My relative wasn’t sure about the risks of putting information about yourself out into the ether, for others to see.  He asked, ‘Won’t people know too much about you’?

 

On reflection I, sort of, see his point, although if you don’t put yourself out there the potential for changing your situation is pretty limited.

 

These days for work, or professional reasons it is sensible to have a Linked In profile.  If a portfolio career appeals it might even be the key to researching new opportunities, which may mean you can develop your future by trading on existing skills.

 

The online edition of American magazine Ebony has an interesting article, with something to say about that subject.  In particular I like their idea that You Can See What You Need to Get What You Want’. 

http://www.ebony.com/career-finance/3-reasons-you-need-to-be-on-linkedin

 

If you set store by finding out more about people who have been there and done that (actually used social media to their advantage), you might want to look at Rich Jones web site concerning professional steps in the virtual world. 

 

http://www.iamrichjones.com/

 

Blogging is an option too.  Finding a topic about which you are passionate and writing about it via WordPress, Blogger, or another platform.  It is always nice to have people read and even follow what you write, but it may take some time to get your readership beyond single figures.

 

Twitter is a third avenue, creating a small you-shaped virtual niche.  It also makes for concise communication as a limit of 140 or fewer characters applies.

 

It is a very quick way of getting your message distributed too.  Although recent events involving Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand, illustrate why speed isn’t always helpful.  Frankly it is idea to think first and tweet later.

 

There are a billion users on Facebook too, so that might be a harder arena in which to get your voice heard.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/oct/04/facebook-hits-billion-users-a-month

 

Whichever route appeals it is also worth remembering something friends working in Human Resources have mentioned to me.  Some employers do keep tabs on identifiable social media accounts.

 

Even if they do not have an official policy about employees’ media usage, or even if you are not yet working for them, they may be very interested in what you have to say and the way you say it.

 

That is worth thinking about if you are used to frank speaking online and you don’t want something you said ages ago, concerning a topic about which you are passionate, counting against long after you had forgotten saying it.