As the workforce ages and transitions to the next career phase, they’re looking for new ways to network, find job leads, and build a personal brand that truly reflects their interests and expertise. Social media is where they can showcase their work, discover the latest info about their field, and connect with others in their field.
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.
In this installment, we’ll look at the best platforms for visual sharing: Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.
If you have twentysomethings or teens in your life, chances are they’re active on Instagram or Snapchat. It’s no secret that older users always found Snapchat hard to understand and difficult to use, something the company tried (some would say unsuccessfully) to address with a redesign earlier this year. Instagram happily stepped in to bridge the generation gap, integrating popular Snapchat features like Stories into their platform. Their user base has grown steadily as a result, with 800 million users. The company claims an impressive 500 million daily active users.
Instagram is the platform of choice for many visual artists. It’s the perfect medium for sharing photographs, art, cartoons, and short (up to 60 seconds) video. Artists can find inspiration and encouragement from their peers (for example, these illustrators you should follow). Performers use Instagram to engage with fans and preview new work, although some are more successful at that than others. Crafters post DIY content, and many designers use Instagram as a “digital scrapbook” of their work. Even though serious videographers turn to YouTube to post their long-form videos, some creators have mastered the short form video. As with other social platforms, brands use Instagram to define and reinforce their brand aesthetics and message.
- If you’re in a creative field, use hashtags to search for accounts of other people who are doing the sort of work you do, e.g., #interiordesign or #makeup
- Use @ mentions to engage with others. If you’ve used inspiration from another user to create the work you’re sharing, thank them and tag them in your post. Someday they may return the favor.
- Unfortunately there are plenty of idea thieves on the internet. If you are sharing your photography or artwork online, consider using a watermark app to indicate it is your original work.
- If you’re not sure where the next chapter of your career is headed, these over-50 Instagrammers may give you the lifestyle and fitness inspiration you need.
- It is possible to create a private Instagram account, but I don’t advise it if you’re hoping to use social media to build your professional reputation and brand. Consider separate logins for your personal and professional accounts.
Millenials and GenZ aren’t consuming most of their “television” via the big box in the living room– they’re getting their news, information, and entertainment via apps on their phones and tablets. And despite attempts by Facebook and others to enter the programmed content realm, YouTube still commands the lion’s share of the audience.
YouTube has democratized the content creation process like nothing else. With little more than a webcam, today’s influencers are producing creative, compelling content, and YouTube is delivering their content to millions of viewers. For some, like singer Shawn Mendes and comedian Bo Burnham, YouTube fame translated to fame “in real life”. There are subcultures of beauty vloggers, gamers, and just plain goofy/random. YouTube is perfect for do-it-yourself instructional videos, and subject matter experts abound in categories ranging from computer programming to crafting to yoga.
- A well-produced video can establish you as an expert baker, photographer, personal trainer, math instructor… the possibilities are limitless. Search on your area of interest for inspiration. There are tons of videos like this one from producer Michael Kinney that will help you get started.
- Being thoughtful about your videos’ titles, descriptions, and other metadata will make your content more unique and therefore will help it stand out.
- Commit to keeping your content updated and fresh.
- If you allow comments on your videos, engage with the commenters just as you would with your other social channels.
- If the thought of producing your own video is unthinkably daunting, YouTube is still fertile ground to learn the latest trends in your industry. Self-paced tutorials can get you up to speed on the skills you may be lacking, and help jumpstart your career switch.
Pinterest has really been a game-changer for visual thinkers and learners, as it puts collections of images (and the information that accompanies them) in the context of an online scrapbook or pin board. Teachers and crafters love Pinterest as a place to collect lesson plans, ideas, and inspiration. Cooks share recipes, party planners show off their decor, and wellness experts post tips and motivational content.
Aspiring designers, instructors, and makers can find a new audience and display their style in their choice of pins. The variety of experts using Pinterest is really remarkable. Because it is such a visual medium, Pinterest is not the right platform for someone whose career ambitions aren’t in the artistic or instructional realms. Check out some of the top brands on Pinterest, and if there’s no overlap with your industry, you can probably pass on setting up an account.
- Pinterest makes it really easy to get started setting up your own boards and adding content. Create boards that are relevant to your areas of expertise, e.g., Outdoor Photography or Healthy Recipes or Preschool Lesson Plans.
- Create new pins from your favorite websites and resources. Check out the most successful brands on Pinterest for inspiration.
- Don’t re-pin others’ pins without checking them first. They might lead to a broken link or worse, to a spam site.
- Small business owners will find tips and best practices from Pinterest for Business.
Next time we’ll talk about how professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and Behance can help you take your career reinvention to the next level.
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