Pick the Right PlatformPicking the right platform to use is as important as building a network and sturdy profile. The three major social networks used for business are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
- LinkedIn is a business-oriented social network that lets you list all of your skills, your old company positions (showing employers that you were a former worker there), and join groups. One of the best features of LinkedIn is its search function, which pulls results from Simply Hired and Indeed. There is also a Q&A section of LI, where you can ask or answer other user's questions, which helps establish you as an expert.
- Facebook is probably the largest social network. Although mostly used for personal use, Facebook allows you to request friendship with colleagues and acquaintances and create brand pages to promote yourself or a company.
- Twitter is the most lightweight and minimalistic of the three main social networks, limiting your posts and profile description to 140 characters. This makes Twitter primarily a promotion and updating tool, with too little substance to gain a following that will make a huge impact. However, it is a handy service to keep your colleagues in the know of what you're up to.
Make a Clean and Detailed ProfileA professional profile is one of the first things someone sees when they view your page, and is the first impression that will keep people clicking. Some of the qualities of a good profile is a fleshed out description of your skills and talents, your greatest accomplishments, and your aspirations. Your profile should act as an online portfolio, and even as a mini-resume.
NetworkOnce you've got a good-looking profile set up, you'll need to start networking. Many social networks allow you to sync contacts from your email, which is a good start to finding more of your peers. You can also find mutual friends through other profiles. Joining groups and fan pages can help you meet new people. If your profile shows you are competent in your field and that you have the right connections, you will not go unnoticed.
Brand YourselfMaking a professional looking profile is key, but you need to find something that makes you stand out. You need to create your own personal brand. Developing your "brand" may require development of a personal logo, a slogan, a personal style, or maybe even a blog. You also might find success in creating a product or service to sell, such as an EBook, because it helps define you as an expert in your industry. If your product becomes a success, it can become a self-sustaining business of its own.
Follow Industry-LeadersFollowing industry leaders can help you stay up-to-date with current news, trends, and breakthroughs. It can also show an employer that you know and care about your industry. It also helps to follow companies, and people in companies, that you'd like to work for. This is one of the best ways to discover holes in your resume you should fill, new skills to learn, or just essential things to know.
Gain Exposure With VideosOne of the best ways to gain more exposure is to record videos on websites like YouTube and Vimeo. Online videos have become more and more popular, and every-day people have been creating tutorial series to video blogs. But because you're a professional, you can offer viewers an inside look to your industry that many others cannot (or will not) provide.
With social media playing a larger role in employment, it is essential to have a professional and clean page. Remember that whatever you put online stays online; don't do anything that may ward off a potential employer.