It could be said that one of the most difficult and puzzling spaces to navigate in this new day and age is social media. We discuss the benefits of using social media to advance your career. Yup, it’s possible – especially if you’re an individual starting your new business venture.
What is social media?
Social media is the interconnected cyber space of websites and applications which give people the chance to make and share anything. On social media, you can share pictures, videos and text; you can mingle, message, talk to other people through social networking.
There are an endless number of social media spaces, the most popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr and the list goes on.
You can access most social media spaces on your cellphone, laptop, tablet, PC’s, on your smart TV and watches – basically anything that connects to the internet.
You just have to be a little strategic and smart about it. Here are some tips on how to use it to your optimal benefit:
Firstly, having good social media skills can assist you in boosting your circle of friends, learning to manage yourself and it helps you develop a way you can ‘manage’ your reputation – well, in the internet world.
You can use these very skills along with the social media space to advance your career.
One of the ways in which social media skills can advance your career is that it introduces you to a broader community.
Maybe you’re a nurse, artist, engineer or psychologist: or maybe you’re self-employed and starting up a business. Either way there are countless social media groups on the various social media spaces you can join to find out what others in your chosen career are doing with their ventures to grow and boost it.
Social media applications like Facebook or WhatsApp groups helps you engage on a very real level the challenges you may be going through in your work space with others who might be going through the same thing. You can then have discussions about these joys and challenges and you’re better able to deal with tricky situations in your career.
Social media helps you build relationships. In a world where people work with the same people every day while doing the same thing, social media exposes you to entirely different people, who can help you see things through a different perspective.
In one short answer to the above question… definitely! Social media now has such a vast and wide landscape of possibilities; people actually have jobs just based on using the platform. Whether it’s managing an account for a company, checking statistics, and marketing or creating digital content for it, the options available to a person interested in specializing in the social media field are endless.
What does it mean to be a social media manager? Well for starters, social media management is not just about posting content to a business social media channel – it’s also about graphics production. This means gathering visual imagery to best catch the attention of users when advertising something. It’s about having a great aptitude for writing, understanding people and specifically your target market and having a solid understanding of how people search for content on the internet and content marketing. This deals with your user-friendliness as a company, how people are able to search for what they want and how they end up landing on your page for more information.
Social media definitely has many career opportunities – IF that is the route you would like to take.
Young graduate Lwazi Zondo is a radio DJ and deals with the different social media platforms on a day to day basis. Lwazi has her biggest following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She says social media is a tricky place but if used wisely it can take you very far.
Here’s what Lwazi had to say about the relationship between radio and social media.
“Because radio used to be the old Twitter, radio has no other option – or choice – but to work with Twitter. So your Twitter feed is always open. I mean I could have something planned for my next link, but if I see something and it’s a big story and I see it on my Twitter feed, I have no choice but to make sure that my next link is as important as that Tweet.”
Lwazi also speaks about having a career going before you jump onto the social media space to promote your work.
“The people that followed me are people that have contributed so much into the industry that I’m in – they’ve also given me access into the world that I want.”
Lwazi says if you are on social media for career purposes, you need to be consistent in one agenda.
“You see people come onto social media and become the bomb-diggidy diggy and then all of a sudden they do something stupid and South Africa hates them.”
Lwazi highlights that should you use social media for career purposes; make sure you stick to that story. In other words, be careful not to post about your break-up with your partner in the heat of the moment. That can potentially ruin your reputation.
Social Media for Personal Branding?
One of the simplest and easiest ways to launch your personal branding is by using social media.
It’s cheap, it’s easy and it requires very little effort from your part. But you need to be smart about it.
A personal brand is the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests that success comes from self-packaging.
With that said, young entrepreneur Mpumelelo Mfula – founder and manager for an online store called RHTC – says:
“It would be wise for us to actually learn how to enter into that space and how to manage ourselves in that space [social media].”
Mpumelelo also touched on the argument between ‘reach’ versus the ‘impact’ of using social media as a personal brand booster. The reach of using social media speaks to how many people find out about your business which is different from the actual impact of the business – in other words- how many people engage with your business because of social media.
“Sometimes quality reach [of your product/brand] is far more valuable than just reach [social media]. I think it’s about having the balance between a fair amount of reach and being followed by the right people.”
He adds that everyone is on social media for different things, and no one reason is better than another.
“I mean we all engage in social media spaces for different reasons, some people do it for fun… If you want to position yourself as an entrepreneur within that space, you definitely need to take care of yourself and behave like one.”
The benefits of using social media for your career or business are many, they include:
- Free advertising
- Engaging with communities at large
- Gain valuable customer insights
- Increase brand awareness and loyalty
- Provide satisfactory customer experiences
- Increase website traffic and search ranking
- Find out what competitors are doing
- Share content faster and easier
- Geo-target content to a specific audience
- Build relationships
If you’re trying to use social media to get your name or the name of your business out there, go ahead! Nothing is stopping you. Just play your cards right, be honest, while paying close attention to the actual quality of the content you’re selling. By making use of the above points, social media can expand your horizons. There are many dangers to using social media incorrectly, but the power is in your hands. Remember to be consistent in your message/agenda, avoid saying or posting things outside of what you initially introduced yourself as.