How to Use Social Media to Get Ahead

social media

Tired of Tweets and newsfeeds getting you down? Want to get ahead online? Here’s how to use social media like Facebook, Twitter and other sites to streamline and enhance your personal and professional life.

These days, social media has a habit of getting in the way of your life rather than enhancing it.

Here are common social media consequences:

  • It can ruin your sleep.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have found that heavier users of social media have more sleep disturbances, especially users who check social media very regularly. This is because a big part of social media is interactive screen time that is stimulating and rewarding, which is linked to sleep disruption.

  • It can make you procrastinate for hours on end.

This is another result of the interactive screen time being so stimulating and rewarding. The active stimulation keeps you on your phone when you know you should be asleep.

  • It can give you anxiety.

A new study conducted by researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Glasgow suggests that this may be because of the pressure to be online all day, which disrupts sleep patterns and can cause anxiety and depression.

Here’s the Good Stuff

While you have probably encountered some of these problems yourself, some people have figured out how to use social media in ways that offer great benefits to their life – in both personal and professional spheres.

With no further ado, here is your guide to getting ahead with social media and making the best of the benefits it has to offer.

Take these Steps to Get Ahead

1. The Right Way to Use Facebook

I got Facebook later than most people my age. I didn’t see the potential until I had an account. Now I am on Facebook just as much as people who had it from their early teens.

facebook logo

Facebook is a great social networking site for a number of reasons:

  • It’s popularity makes it the best site to create communal connections.
  • You can develop and sustain your social relationships regardless of distance, and connect with people that you would not normally be able to.
  • It is one of the main ways for students to learn web management.
  • Online engagement is very important for most businesses, and the skills you learn by managing an online presence will serve you well in most industries.
  • You get access to huge amounts of information in real time, as events happen.

The Pew Research Center found that in 2013, almost half of all Facebook users use the platform as their main source of world news. That number has shot up to 63% of users in 2015.

How to Make the Most of Facebook?

In order to avoid the pitfalls of Facebook, try cut down on compulsive checking. According to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, spending lots of time on social media makes you three times more likely to suffer from bad sleep. More specifically, frequent use of social media is the key reason social media interferes with your sleep. How to Use Facebook Positively

  • Use it assertively rather than passively.
  • Reinforce connections with friends and family by keeping consistent communication that isn’t possible in person.
  • Seek out events, people and pages that contribute meaningfully to your life.
  • Consider how and why you use Facebook, and how this contributes or detracts from you life.
  • Only check your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds at certain periods throughout the day. This is the most effective way to get more healthy sleep. According to the doctor who conducted the above research, compulsive ‘checking’ of social media is the most destructive social media habit you can have.

When you start paying attention to how you spend your time on Facebook, it will become clear whether or not you are using Facebook in a positive or meaningful way. 

2. Making The Most of 140 Characters

I don’t like Twitter. I wasn’t on Twitter until I was 21 and writing professionally. But, I could have actually made great use out of using this social media platform in a smart and active way.

twitter logo

Make sure you get a head start by using social media intelligently as soon as possible. It’s the world we live in, so you better start getting involved. Unlike most other social media sites, Twitter is a space where traditionally under-represented voices are able to cut through.  

Twitter is a space where any voice, no matter how small, can be heard across the world.

How to Make the Most of Twitter?

  • First of all – get on Twitter.
  • Use the unique power of this site to access people, ideas and information you would not be able to find anywhere else.
  • Twitter represents an opportunity for you as an individual, no matter how small your voice, to build your own online identity.

For these reasons, Twitter is the best space to develop a presence online. A strong online identity is something that will benefit you in a career where people need to know who you are.

3. Be Smart When You Post. 

What you post says a lot about you. It could also say more than you expect. Unless you have been living under a rock since New Year’s, you will know about the Penny Sparrow incident that rocked the country in January.

What you may not know is that your employer is entitled to dismiss you for your inappropriate social media posts. Because companies could face a backlash by association with the social media content of their employees, your employer is allowed to take action against you if your posts could harm a company’s reputation.

While certain posts can break your career, they can also make it. By maintaining consistently high-quality Twitter accounts, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Ellen DeGeneres have all used Twitter to propel their careers to new heights. By making sure your social media posts are consistently good, you can gain a lot of social capital from the online world.

Even if you are not an entertainer, having a strong online identity makes you a very valuable employee in the professional world.

How to Post Smart

  • Be conscious of what you put online. Once you post something you cannot take it back. One wrong foot could cost you not just your reputation, but also your career.
  • Have a good online identity – it can be a massive advantage in an increasingly digital world.
  • Keep your posts professional, and try to consider your online identity from the perspective of others.

What do your posts say about you?

4. Check Out Flipboard

 If you haven’t heard of Flipboard, make it the next site you visit after EduConnect.

flipboard logo

Flipboard is a magazine-style online content organiser. It collects stories and articles across social media sites throughout the Internet and organises it according to your chosen interests. I wanted to get information on social media to write this article, and Flipboard churned out hundreds of recent news stories and studies I could use.

It’s a one-stop site for news, opinion pieces or any other online content you could want.

5. How to Be a Social Media Rockstar 

To learn how to make the most out of your

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube
  • Instagram

look no further than the following awesome infographic from the people at OnBlastBlog by clicking here. It breaks down how to develop your profiles on each site to have the most professional profile and gain maximum followers.


In Summary

  • Don’t let social media ruin your sleep cycles and drain your time. Avoid compulsive checking by only using social media at specific times. You will cut down your usage and avoid the worst effects of excessive social media use.
  • Use Twitter to build your online identity and have your voice heard. It’s a site where any voice can become a big voice, so focus your social media energy here.
  • Think before you post. While your posts may only be digital, their effect on your reputation and your career can be all too real.
  • Use Flipboard to get exposure to information, quality writing, get up to date with current events and do your own research. 

EduConnect 2cents

Blogs are a great source for tips and tricks on social media and building your online presence. There are actually tons of blogs dedicated to blogging, and pretty much every other online platform you can think of. Be sure to make use of them.

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