No matter which industry you work in, the value of building a professional network cannot be overstated. Research by LinkedIn has shown that networking’s impact on one’s career can go as far as establishing new business partnerships or landing a job opportunity. It can also be the deciding factor on whether or not you climb up the career ladder.
While there are still in-person networking events and conferences, it is increasingly being overpowered by social media. With social media being an open forum, you can reach a diverse selection of people and also access a wide range of content related to your job and industry.
Even the power of a thank you on social media helps create more lasting and meaningful bonds. It offers a platform for acknowledging your sources of inspiration and expressing gratitude for those who have helped you in your career.
Consequently, social media is an essential tool for making new connections and leveraging your existing contacts. Read on for a step-by-step guide on using various platforms for professional development.
Posting on LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn is a social media platform where users are asked to create a professional profile containing their education, skills, and work experience.
You can boost your networking opportunities through LinkedIn Groups, where you can meet professionals in the same industry or with similar interests as you.
- Using the Search bar, type keywords or group names related to your field or interest.
- Click on a group’s name, then read the About this group section to learn more information.
- Click Request to join so the group administrator can be notified.
- Once your request has been accepted, click the Start a post in this group box on the group’s homepage.
- The Create a post pop-up window will then appear. This is where you can type the content of your post, add relevant hashtags, and attach photos, videos, or documents.
- Click Post so other users in the group can see and interact with your post.
Additionally, LinkedIn has announced that they will be rolling out a new feature to schedule posts for later. This means you can write your content in advance, then choose the optimal posting times so you can maximize engagements from group members.
Switching to an Instagram business profile
Since Instagram relies heavily on visuals, it’s one of the most suitable platforms for creatives, lifestyle content creators, and business owners. However, instead of simply using a personal account, consider switching to an Instagram business profile.
Among the added features of a business account is Instagram Insights. It provides a detailed analysis of account reach and engagement, so you can tailor your content to your audience and broaden your network of followers. It also provides a Contact button so potential partners or employers can easily reach you.
To set up your business account:
- Go to your Profile and click the upper right corner.
- Tap Settings, where you can find the Switch to professional account option.
- Select a Category that fits your business or profession, then click Done.
- Tap OK to confirm, then add your contact details if you wish to display them on your public profile.
Staying updated on Facebook
With 2.93 billion monthly active users, Facebook remains one of the best social media platforms for networking. You can choose to set up a separate professional account or create a Page for your brand.
But you can also maintain boundaries between your work and personal life by creating a separate friend list for your business contacts:
- From your Feed, click the Friends menu and select See More.
- Click Custom Lists, then click Create List.
- You can name the list something like “Business” or “Professional”, then choose the accounts you wish to add by clicking Add Friends.
You can now keep track of all professional updates using this list’s feed. Another way to stay updated is to regularly check message requests from people you may know, as these messages can lay the groundwork for possible partnerships or job offers.