10 Ways to Use Social Media to Take Your Events Career to the Next Level
Ask anyone how to use social media to advance their career and you will hear choruses of voices respond, “use LinkedIn.” But there are more innovative ways to use social media for career advancement. Event professionals who want to move ahead in their professions can learn ways they can improve their opportunities and their lives using these 10 tips.
1. Develop Valuable Relationships
Whether you are looking for a potential client, employer, or mentor, chances are good they may be found somewhere online using social media.
Social media allows us to engage with new people and develop some of those relationships online, but there’s an art to it. Simply following another person on Twitter isn’t enough. Peppering a new connection with multiple comments isn’t a good idea, either. The answer lies somewhere in between.
“LinkedIn is a great place to search for people who might be a good connection to you, whether it’s for mentorship or a lead on a new job or just a good new connection. But it’s a little bit hard to connect there, so I found that if you can use LinkedIn as a search tool to find the right people, and then Twitter is a really good way to actually make a connection with them. Once you find the person on LinkedIn, then [you can] search for them on Twitter,” said Liz King, CEO of Liz King Events.
How long does it take to build an amiable professional relationship online and what’s the process? It varies.
“I just engaged with people. If had the same passion on a topic it sped up the process,” said Laurence Hart, director of IBC.
2. Engage With Your Industry
It isn’t enough to go to a networking happy hour once in a while. Use social media to get more involved in the industry.
“Event professionals should join hybrid events when they can’t travel and participate actively in moderated online chats,” said Tahira Endean, event producer for the BC Innovation Council.
Another tip is to show up where your customers are. When they see your name popping up in their favorite online social media channel, it will keep you top of mind for them when it comes to making business decisions later.
“You should use the forums your clients or partners are engaged in,” Endean said. “It’s a really smart way to remind others of your value.”
3. Enhance your Thought Leadership
Share your expertise and help others to associate you with high quality knowledge in your industry. One easy way to do this is to start by curating smart resources as you come across them and making sure to share those resources with others.
“Make meaningful content contributions to professional conversations. Pass on relevant content links others might not see,” said Jeffrey Cufaude, CEO of Idea Architects.
4. Expand your Knowledge and Keep your Skills Sharp
Few people will stay with one organization for their entire careers. Today, we must stay marketable and evolve our knowledge. There are many options for learning new skills online and some Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) even provide special groups on social media channels for continuing the conversation on the lessons provided. Participating in MOOCs will not only help to expand your network, but it will also provide you with more opportunity to use what you recently learned to provide value to others.
One other note about MOOCs: Some MOOCs will issue official certificates when you complete a course that are verified by prestigious universities and come ready to post to your LinkedIn profile. This is a nice, simple way to let potential employers or clients know that you are continuing to grow in your knowledge.
5. Ask More Questions
One of the easiest ways you can improve not just your career but also your life, is to ask more questions. Strengthening your curiosity will deepen your knowledge of other people, enrich your intellect, and open up more opportunities to you regularly.
In How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, author Michael Gelb writes:
Great minds ask great questions. The questions that “engage our thought” on a daily basis, reflect our life purpose and influence the quality of our lives.
Whether you ask more questions on Twitter (which now has a built-in, simple polling functionality), direct a thoughtful question to an industry leader on an open online forum, or post a question on the social media site Quora; asking more questions will at the least show you are open to learning from other people and might even offer a more natural entry to discussion that can transform your career.
6. Make your Clients Look Good on Social
Sure you use social media to make yourself look good. But how often do you look for ways to raise others up – especially your business associates?
“Tag and credit your partners in great events with a photo, especially on any visual medium like Instagram or Pinterest,” said Endean.
Making your clients look good will help them to see you are thoughtful, helpful, and that you possess enough business savvy to go the extra mile.
7. Create Something New
“Those who do not know how to fight worry die young,” said French surgeon and biologist Alexis Carrel. Stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on your career if you aren’t careful.
Research has shown the impact visual art activities have on the human brain includes, “reductions in stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions.” Social media provides us with numerous ways to create something new every day.
It’s amazing how playing around in Canva or Pixlr for 30 minutes can not only provide you with a feeling of accomplishment, but can also give you a creative image to use to accompany your online content.
Some people like to create music, rather than visual art, and find their creativity using tools like looplabs or GarageBand. The finished product might serve as a great intro or outro for a podcast or web show. It might also just serve to alleviate tension.
Short story: Creating stuff is good for you and your career. Go do it.
8. Get Serious About Goals and Follow Through
At the beginning of every year, well-intentioned people make promises about ways they will change their lives that they fail to keep. But social media can help us to get serious about our goals and keep us accountable for seeing them through until they are accomplished.
Apps like Coach.me, Finish, and Gratitude can help you by providing a place to check in on your goals, share your progress with your friends on social media, and will provide you with a regular status report.
Use tools like these to remind yourself to reach out to three professional contacts a week to connect, post an article to Medium, or to update your LinkedIn profile regularly.
9. Develop your Personal Brand
Some people hate the term, “personal brand,” but regardless we all have one. You should own the responsibility of developing your personal brand and using social media to provide your public face.
“The key is establishing a niche, sticking with it, attracting followers, and blooming perennially wherever you’re planted,” said Tom Spalding, public relations manager at OneAmerica.
Does that mean you need to market like a brand to your friends and family on Facebook? No. But you should make sure your persona online and in person are in sync and that you have thoroughly considered the way you use different social media channels. Once people can get a clearer idea of who you are and what you do, then it makes it easier for them to know how they might be able to do business with you.
10. Try New Social Media Channels and Functionality
Social media is constantly providing us with new channels for communication. Some will stick around and some won’t. Some will be good for professional development and some will be better for enhancing your personal life. But you won’t know for sure until you try them out.
Whether you want to try out live video for developing your thought leadership or Snapchat for their snazzy new geo-filters, testing them out will tell you more about them than if you just read about their capabilities. You might find a social media niche for yourself that will boost your career in unexpected ways.
There are many ways you can improve your career using social media beyond updating your LinkedIn profile, though that’s a good place to start. Social media allows us the ability to communicate with the people who can help us to advance professionally. It’s our responsibility to use our wits and the tools provided to make the most of our opportunities and to grow. If we are creative, proactive, and smart about our approaches online, we can open up ourselves to new possibilities and maybe even increase our bottom line while we’re at it.
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