The Secret to Fitting Social Media into Your Professional Life

Why doesn’t everyone have a social media strategy for their career?

There are two main reasons: not seeing the value and not having the time.

The value proposition has a simple answer. Our professional reputation increasingly influences how we get jobs, advance in our careers and navigate transitions.

The time equation is more difficult. We each have 24 hours in days that seem to get busier by the second. How can we make the most of our limited time to build our careers through social media?

Start by thinking about what you’ve done professionally over the last month.

Have you –

  1. Spoken at an event
  2. Attended a conference
  3. Taken a course, online or in person
  4. Traveled for a work meeting or event
  5. Joined a professional or trade group and attended a meeting
  6. Received an award for your work
  7. Completed a key project that can be shared in public
  8. Participated in a company-sponsored charitable event
  9. Seen an engaging video about your company or industry
  10. Found a valuable article about your company or industry
  11. Read a thought-provoking book about business or your industry
  12. Come across an interesting post by a colleague or your company

Why consider these activities?

VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk identified a simple and powerful strategy in his post, “Document, don’t create: creating content that builds your personal brand.”

Documenting is creating content, he says. It’s simply sharing your career journey and what you’re doing every day. And it’s easy to do because you’re “just being yourself.”

To look into the future of this documenting trend, check out the New York Times article Keeping Up, on Camera, Is No Longer Just for the Kardashians.

In everything you do professionally today, start by asking yourself if it can be shared publicly in social media. Make sure to never, ever share non-public and/or competitively sensitive information in social media.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution and don’t share. Even if you think something is okay to share in public, check that official company sources have shared the information publicly, or ask your supervisor for confirmation.

Career blogger Penelope Trunk said it well in her online course Reach Your Goals by Blogging. “Just don’t write anything near where your ‘security clearance’ goes,” she advised. While most people don’t have security clearances, this is an apt analogy to keep confidential information confidential. Don’t share it.

Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, then focus on what you’re doing, what’s interesting about it and why it could be valuable to your network.

What specifically in the course of your day, your week and your month could you share that builds the career brand you want to be known for?

Some of my colleagues do this really well. (This is where I remind readers that opinions expressed in this blog are my own.)

Here are just a few.

TeNita Ballard. TeNita is an enthusiastic champion of diversity and inclusion. She shares the events she attends, the people she meets and what she learns through posts in Instagram, Facebook and more.

John Starkweather. John is a big advocate for business customers. He shared his experience at the company’s recent tech conference The Summit in LinkedIn and Twitter. His posts make you feel like you were there.

Jennifer Van Buskirk. Jennifer leads the east region of the company. She shares leadership lessons she’s learned in her career in LinkedIn, along with the events she attends and speaks at in the course of her work.

Sarah Stoesser Groves. Sarah is a digital marketer who shares news and information her network can use. At The Summit she posted insightful video clips and sound bites from many of the speakers in LinkedIn and Twitter.

L. Michelle Smith. Michelle is a multi-cultural marketer. She’s a great source for the latest research and thought leadership on inclusion marketing through her posts in LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reflecting on the last month, here are some of the professional activities I’ve shared in LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. It only required taking a few photos and videos of the events and sharing key messages in my social networks.

They tended to be squeezed into the nooks and crannies of busy days as well as evenings and sometimes weekends, forming the public side of work-related activities that can be shared in social media.

Attended The Summit in Dallas as a marketing leader and participated on a team of social influencers to amplify the event’s messaging and reach, thanks to Sarah Groves.

Joined the Women’s Sports Foundation‘s annual salute gala in New York, thanks to Fiona Carter who is a member of the group’s board. It was inspiring to see so many strong female role models and spend time with colleagues.

Spoke at #WeGatherLA, the second-annual women’s leadership experience spearheaded by Otter Media President Sarah Harden, thanks to an invitation from Jennifer Cho and Katelynn Duffel. It was an amazing experience interviewing Helie Lee about her project Macho Like Me, when she lived life as a man for six months. Truly incredible!

Talked with visiting students from Howard University and North Carolina A&T University about how to build a career through social media, thanks to Grant Reid, along with John Willis and Kaleb Pask.

Participated in events at USC as a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and USC Annenberg Alumni Advisory Board, thanks to Leticia Lozoya and Ashley Cooper.

Beyond building your career through social media, there are other benefits to documenting your professional life in social. You’re helping to build the brands of your company and your colleagues.

Employees are a trusted and credible source of information about their companies, according to Shel Holtz. Take that responsibility seriously and be sure you’re communicating in alignment with your company’s values, brand and social media policy.

And as we approach the end of the year and you summarize your key accomplishments, your social media feeds are a powerful input. They document many of your key accomplishments. You can add to quantifying their impact by the reach and the engagement of your posts.

As you head into a new week, what are you doing, experiencing and learning this week that you can share in social media?

18 Ways to Live Tweet an Event

Want to peek into the future of technology and entertainment?

Thousands of people got to do just that at SHAPE, the AT&T Tech & Entertainment Expo at Warner Bros. Studios.

I was one of them. And I wanted to share the experience. So I live tweeted some of the sound bites I heard from some of the spellbinding speakers. (Here’s where I say that opinions expressed in this blog are my own.)

Live tweeting – or snapping or gramming, depending on the social platform – is something you can do at every event you attend.

Why not share valuable content with your social networks? It’s an important part of any social media savvy strategy for your professional life.

Here’s a roadmap.

 

BEFORE THE EVENT: Get Ready

Get familiar with the event. Download the event app. Peruse the agenda. Plan how you’ll spend your time.

Learn about the speakers. Read their bios. Check out their Twitter feed or their Instagram presence or their Snap story.

Know the event’s social strategy. See what social networks the event is using and decide which one(s) you’ll use. Check out the event hashtags. Search them and view existing content.

Follow the event’s Twitter handle(s). In this case, @attdeveloper and @attshape had great tweets throughout the event.

Share your plans to attend. Post pre-event content in your social networks. You may discover friends who will also be there and other people you can take the opportunity to meet in person.

 

AT THE EVENT: Tell a Compelling Story

Curate your feed. Once the event begins, think of it like a story. Consider the story you want to tell and tweet accordingly. Don’t tweet content unrelated to the event until after it’s over.

Pick a good seat. Sit as close to the front and the center as possible. You’ll be able to get better photos that way. Chat with people sitting near you to see what they’re enjoying about the event and how they’re experiencing it.

Capture images. Take pictures of on-screen images before the speakers begin. You’ll have plenty of visual assets to create your story. And you might be able to use them in a collage.

Take pictures during the talk. Capture interesting visuals. Get up-close pictures of the panel and individual speakers. Capture speakers in action, making expansive and dramatic gestures.

Use photos that show people in the best light. Delete unflattering pictures, such as when a speaker’s eyes are closed or they’re in an awkward pose.

Edit photos for lighting and color. Crop them so they’ll show up well in your tweet. This takes a little trial and error. I’m still learning.

Vary the number of photos you include with each tweet. You can include 1, 2 or 4 photos per tweet. And don’t forget that video can accompany a tweet too.

Listen for sound bites. The AT&T SHAPE app had an invaluable section in each presentation to take notes. So I captured sound bites that grabbed me. It was easier to copy and paste them into a tweet as well as synthesize a number of messages into a single tweet.

If a friend asked you for the one thing you learned, or for 3 key takeaways from a talk, what would you say? Use that same line of reasoning for your tweets. Listen for the best content from the speakers and share the most valuable information.

Use the hashtag(s). In every tweet or post, use the event hashtag. That makes your content more discoverable, and therefore more likely to be liked and shared.

Mention people. Give credit to speakers and panelists by mentioning them in tweets and posts. Use their Twitter handle. If they don’t have a handle, use their name with a hashtag, e.g., #FionaCarter, so the content is more discoverable.

Mention organizations. If a company is involved in some way, weave their Twitter handle into the tweet. By mentioning @Tribeca, one of my tweets was retweeted by the organization. That generated 5,000 impressions!

Keep tabs on the event’s Twitter handle and the event hashtag(s). Look at what the primary event handle is tweeting. Search on the hashtag during the event to see what people are sharing. That leads to the next strategy . . .

Engage with related content. Like and retweet content that adds to the story you want to tell. Use the “quote tweet” feature to include your perspective on the original tweet. Here’s one from my colleague Brooke Hanson.

However, if the “quote tweet” feature eliminates the image from the original tweet (i.e., if it becomes text only), consider a straight retweet so you get the benefit of the visual appearing. Why? Tweets with images get 150% more retweets.

Build relationships. Promote the content and ideas of speakers you know or want to get to know by tweeting about them or retweeting their content. Do the same for people attending the event who are sharing their experience of it.

Look at the Twitter feeds of people who followed you as a result of the event. Follow back the people whose content you want to be associated with.

 

AFTER THE EVENT: Extend the Experience

Tweet a close to your story. What tweet will put the right finish on your event story? It could be the final tweet from the event’s Twitter handle. Or it could be your biggest takeaway from the event.

Analyze your analytics. Check out your Twitter analytics to see which tweets got the most impressions and the most engagement. Create a hypothesis as to why. This will help you create more engaging tweets, whether it’s the next thing you tweet about or the next event you attend.

Extend the experience. What did you learn at the event? What made the biggest impact on you? What will you change or do differently as a result?

Think about ways you could share those learnings with your social networks. Maybe it’s a final tweet or a maybe it’s a blog post that you share in a tweet.

Apply what you learned. Find at least one thing you’ll do differently as a result of attending the event. Commit to putting it into action right away.

For me, it was sharing how I live tweet an event in this post. This caused me to reflect on the process I use and how it’s evolved over the course of several events.

What I thought was simply an intuitive process actually has several concrete steps. It was a surprise to unpack it and think through each step in the process. And analyzing the analytics from live tweeting will help make it better the next time.

How do you live tweet an event?