Are you looking to level up your career? Switch niches? Or establish yourself as an expert in your field? Whatever your goal is for your professional future, you can harness social media to reach it.
Platforms like LinkedIn, X, and even Instagram have become key spaces of building your image in the business world.
Plus, recent surveys show that more and more people use social media for job hunting. The ExpressVPN’s research revealed that a paradigm shift is happening, especially among Gen Z. In this age group, TikTok and YouTube resumes are becoming ever more popular and effective.
But what exactly can you do to optimize your social media to boost your career? Here are five strategies to leverage.
Focus on the Right Platforms
To start with, it’s essential that you pinpoint the right platforms to focus on. Maintaining your social media presence can take significant amounts of time, though there are specialized tools to help you. In your already-busy professional life, you want to maximize efficiency – leveraging social media is no different.
LinkedIn is the standard platform in the professional world. No matter what your niche is, whether you’re a freelancer or employed somewhere, whether you work in the private or public sector, or even in academia, having a well-maintained LinkedIn profile is a no-brainer.
Beyond that, though, it gets a little dicey.
If you’re a graphic designer, you’ll want to showcase your skills on Instagram or Pinterest. As a PhD student, though, you’re better off building your presence on platforms like ResearchGate and Academia.
The trick is to check out different networks and figure out where most activity is happening in your niche. Checking out the social presence of high-profile players in your field can help with that.
Follow Inspiring Leaders
Once you’ve decided which platforms you want to focus on, start looking for accounts to follow. If you’re starting from scratch, go for industry leaders first. Who is at the helm of new developments in your niche? Which people or institutions are trendsetters? Who do you personally admire?
Following these accounts will help you in several ways. For one thing, they’ll give you a good idea of the general discourse in your field. What topics popular accounts post about, and what forms these posts take. You’ll get a feeling for the tone and cadence of the professional social media sphere you’re trying to break into.
For another, you’ll be able to draw inspiration and motivation from these accounts. In most cases, thought leaders and people working on cutting-edge developments share their tips, tricks, and lessons learned with their followers. Plus, knowing that these accounts started out at zero helps keep things in perspective as you work on your own social media presence.
Keep Up With the Latest Trends
Next up, one way to leverage social media to further your career is to keep up with the latest trends.
Following industry experts and high-level industry publications in your field on platforms like LinkedIn and X can help you stay ahead of the curve. Not only will you be able to identify hot new topics. You’ll also get to gauge how much they resonate based on the engagement on different kinds of comments, likes, dislikes, and shares.
All of this can help you identify which professional avenues are worth pursuing, what interesting perspectives for the future are, and what skills will be valuable going forward.
Plus, you’ll be able to make informed comments on the hottest conversations happening in your field. That’s a tremendous advantage when you’re interacting with colleagues, both offline and online. No matter if you’re making coffee break conversation at a conference, or write a blog post summing up your view of recent developments.
Establish Yourself as an Expert
Another item on your social media to-do list is to establish yourself as an expert. That means you need to create high-quality, original content and to show insightful reactions to other people’s posts.
Are you in academia? One way to go is to showcase your recent projects. Use your social media profiles to signal-boost your latest publications in high-quality journals.
Are you a video editor? Create a series of short-form clips to share your best editing hacks on TikTok and Reels.
Or do you work in analytics? Post updates on the types of certifications you’ve earned and leave in-depth comments on posts by leading accounts in your field.
Over time, you’ll also be able to build a network of connections – linking up with people you meet offline or online. Following and being followed by people you look up to, as well as by your peers, is crucial.
All of these strategies can help you increase your visibility, boost engagement on your posts, and gain followers. In the long run, they’ll help you position yourself as an expert in your field – someone worth hiring.
Keep an Eye Out for Job Openings
Finally, one way to leverage social media to enhance your career is to keep an eye out for job openings.
While you’re showcasing your CV, many organizations and businesses post open positions on social media. Or personal accounts signal-boost them. Even freelance jobs are often advertised on social media rather than platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.
When you’re ready to take on new work, keep your eyes peeled! And explicitly state in your profile and description that you’re open to new offers.
The Bottom Line
In 2023, harnessing social media is inevitable if you want to take your career to the next level.
By selecting the right platforms to focus your efforts on, and by following and interacting with the right people, you’ll build a solid foundation to grow your reach and keep up with the latest trends. Building on that, draw inspiration from industry leaders and leverage your own creativity to establish yourself as an expert.
That way, all a potential employer will have to do is take a look at your profile – and see that you’re a capable, well-connected expert worth hiring.