Do you remember the olden days of social media? When you and your friends or your kids had MySpace and that’s where all the teen and twenty-something drama happened? Fights were waged over relationship status changes and everyone obsessed on the background they had on their profile.
This was before social media was used for anything personal outside of garage bands and rap artists who posted their mixtapes online. At the time, social media was only used by musicians and young adults who wanted to stay connected – and now look where we are.
Businesses can’t survive anymore without not just one social media account, but four or five. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. While the millennials are still the kings of social media, businesses are giving them a run for their money. Global influencers aren’t found in news magazines and literary publications; they’re found in blog posts and social content that’s 140 characters or less.
Because of this huge shift in the culture of social media, what you do online now counts. In the days of MySpace the concept of online activity having real-world repercussions was just getting started. Now one Facebook post can see someone fired and mobbed online for years to come. Just like your online postings can have positive aspects, they can also be your undoing.
The Far Reaching Hands of Social Media
But let’s focus on the positive. Social media influence matters a lot more to most people than book sales or conference attendance. If you tell a peer 50,000 colleagues listened to you speak, they won’t be as impressed as if you told them you have 50,000 Twitter followers.
Social media’s reach and importance is something you don’t want to ignore. Now more than ever, you need to start building a personal brand. This includes what you’re known for online and how you present yourself. Are you the staunch businessperson who uses facts and figures to get their points across, or are you someone who likes infographics and cheeky social media quips to get your follower’s attention.
Your personality is essentially boxed and amplified on social media. Consumers like general ideas, not intricate thoughts. Your online persona is not just an extension of who you are, it IS who you are. What you tweet and retweet is critical to who you are as a person online – one misstep, and you’re the newest victim of an Internet war.
You also have to fight to maintain dominance on social media. Social channels are a battlefield of relevance – as Heidi Klum would say “one minute you’re in, and the next you’re out.” If you aren’t paying attention to how you act and the topics you post about, you’ll be left in the dust.
This just proves how important social media is in general – but how does it affect your career?
Social Media and Your Career
Think about the above information and apply it to your career. First in a positive light – you create social media accounts as an entrepreneur or businessperson with the goal of gaining a following. You post content regularly and gather a large number of followers over a few months.
If you keep up this trend, you’ll quickly be on your way to being an influencer. Jobs and business opportunities are created on social media nowadays. As an influencer, you’ll be asked for interviews and thoughts on market trends. You’ll be able to increase your value as a businessperson the more and more you delve into social media.
In a similar vein, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
If you become a social media pariah, your career can take a very large hit. Imagine a newspaper content writer posting discredited information on their social media account. Even though this is a personal account and not directly linked to business, this gives doubt to readers about their sources and ability to craft reliable content.
Even outside of this specific example, acting out on social media is a good way for your personal brand to take a very large hit. What nails your coffin closed doesn’t even have to be work related – political and personal opinions can tank your reputation online, and thus your career will suffer as well.
Tips for Success
If you want to be successful on social media, you have to be able to do two things:
- Continue posting relevant and valuable content.
- Keep your personal opinions out of social media.
Remember that social media is about relevance. If you stay relevant and post/share valuable content, you’ll be able to stay on top as long as you keep your personality limited. People enjoy a one-dimensional person that they’ll agree with online. Be yourself – but keep your personal opinions that fall outside the norm off your account. If you want to be really fair, keep them all to yourself.
Your business accounts should be about value and relevant information. Post infographics about market trends and blog links to new studies in your industry. If you post content regularly and keep it up, your career will flourish.