As the aging population puts off retirement, they’re looking online for career help, for job listings, and to build their personal brand. They know that social media isn’t just for narcissistic twenty-somethings to post selfies, it’s a place where they can showcase their work, discover the latest info about their field, and network (31% of LinkedIn users are over 55).
If you’re ready to put yourself out there on social media, but don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a guide for finding the platform that’s right for you, building your online presence, and getting the most out of your time there. If you’re already on social media but are concerned you’re not “doing it right”, we have some tips for you, too.
Last time we shared a quiz to help you identify which social media channels are right for you and your career objectives. In this installment, we’ll look at the top social sharing platforms, Facebook and Twitter. (After years of rumors about its demise, Google is shutting down its Facebook competitor Google+ after reports of a security breach that affected half a million users.)
People and brands use Facebook for sharing long-form updates, images, and video. Media outlets post breaking news, which are easily shared by users among their own friends and family. Creators build awareness and excitement for new movies, TV shows, music releases, exhibitions, and more. Small brands use it to build their audience, and more established brands use it to engage with consumers and build brand loyalty.
Facebook is continually rolling out new features to help companies and brands use their platform to more deeply engage with their followers. Polls and Q&As are tools to get quick customer insights, while Notes and Lists stimulate deeper conversations with target consumers. Nonprofits can do fundraising, and companies that put on live meetups can set up an Event page and even sell tickets via the platform. (Be sure to check out Next for Me’s upcoming events here. Of course, Facebook makes most of their money from ads, and they have a whole ecosystem for setting up ad campaigns to do everything from getting more people to Like a page to lead generation. (Anyone thinking of running ads on Facebook should read Next for Me founder Jeff Tidwell’s take on Forbes.com. Spoiler: He’s not a fan!)
- Think carefully how you’d like to use Facebook as a platform, and who you want to connect with there. Many professionals (myself included) like to keep Facebook just for friends and close colleagues.
- Before setting up a Facebook page for your business, be sure you read and understand the rules governing brand pages.
- Read these case studies to learn how other businesses have successfully leveraged Facebook to build their brand, drive sales, and convert followers into customers.
- Commit to keeping your pages updated. If you want people to engage with your business, you need to keep the information you share current.
If you watch cable news or sports programming, you know that Twitter has become a huge source for on-air content and “man on the street” opinions. Twitter’s 280-character limit encourages brevity, and rewards comedians and commentators who can get their point across succinctly and with humor. Most big brands and companies that have any sort of social presence are on Twitter, which they can use to drive traffic to a website or blog that has more information than can be conveyed in 280 characters or less. Twitter has become a de facto customer service platform, where complaints can snowball if the account isn’t well managed. Of course, certain politicians have found a powerful megaphone with Twitter, and it can’t be denied that Twitter has played a historic role in political uprising and citizen journalism. But the anonymous nature of Twitter has contributed to an environment that many have called “a cesspool“.
Still, Twitter makes it easy to follow the influencers and news sources you do like, and filter out the ones you don’t. You can use it to “listen” without posting, or you can follow the lead of successful influencers in your field and post the sort of news and information that position you as a thought leader. Twitter ads can help you reach a wider audience and expand your influence.
- Follow users who inspire you, and follow their lead in the ways they engage with the platform.
- Follow Brands that model best practices.
- Don’t just publish/push — engage with @ mentions, tweet and retweet links of interest to your followers.
- Keep on top of trending topics/hashtags to stay in the know, and use that information to establish yourself as a trendsetter and thought leader.
Next time we’ll cover photo and video sharing platforms like Instagram and YouTube, and talk about how people in visual and creative fields can use them to share their work and connect with others to inspire and collaborate.
Photo credit: Pexels