No matter what industry you’re in or what stage in your career you are; social media plays a role in your profession. It doesn’t matter if you’re a consultant, designer, architect or studying to be a physician – social media matters. Why? Because we live in the information age and most of us visit Facebook or Email more than three times a day.
A lot of people like to think that social media is a party-pooper when in reality, it’s a channel that can accelerate your career and happiness. Technology has allowed us to have the world at our fingertips and connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime. It’s given us insight into the world beyond our borders and an opportunity to achieve goals that once seemed unrealistic and too far stretched.
So how do you achieve success as a young professional using social media?
You start by identifying what you want to achieve from social media. Some people have no aspirations to take extra vacations every year or land a dream job. If that’s not what you want, I get it, this post might not be for you but I think you might change your mind after reading the Hustle Manifesto when it comes out in a few months. Either way, here are four things every young professional ought to know about social media:
Pixels Will Never Replace Face To Face
Relationships are the essence of life. It sounds simple but in fact, it’s quite profound when you realize that what has largely shaped the person you are and the person you will become is due to the relationships you’ve formed. Some of your relationships have been built through years of sharing secrets and playing in the playground while others may have been built at coffee shops and around the office. No matter how you established relationships, relationships are everything.
Personal relationships are the fundamental unit of our society. Relationships are how we discover new ideas, understand our world and ultimately derive long-term happiness. – Mark Zuckerberg
Channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have given us an opportunity to maintain relationships for longer than ever before. Yet, while it’s always great to see a friend like your Facebook status or write on your wall, nothing can replace a face to face chat. Too often do we forget this fact and fall victim to the belief that digital interaction can replace face to face.
Mark Suster wrote a post about the importance of taking coffee meetings in business and I’m here to reiterate his point. Life gets busy and we can quickly forget about the importance of connecting with our friends and ultimately take our relationships for granted. Don’t make this mistake. Meet with people in person and don’t set up meetings with the intent of “networking” – set them up with the intent of getting to know someone better.
You Are Your Google Search Results
Do you know what shows up when someone searches your name on Google? What about Facebook or LinkedIn? If you don’t know, you really need to find out. In todays world, it’s the combination of these search results that represent your name. In one of the final scenes of The Wire, Marlo Stanfield says, My name is my name!
While it’s not often that we look to drug dealing kingpins for life and business advice, this phrase holds a valuable insight. Your name is your name. In other words, your reputation is one of the most important things you own. In a world of blogs, tweets, instagrams, snapchats and profiles – our name is being established 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It’s a story being told whether you like it or not and while you cannot control the story surrounding your name, you can definitely influence it.
Social media has given us the ability to create and craft the story we want to tell. Tom Peters talked about the concept of personal branding back in 1997 before social media was a driving force in communications. In a piece called The Brand Called You, he concludes by saying:
It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else…
It’s easy to take control of your name. Do research on colleagues, influencers and role models using Google. From the identify people in your industry or space who have a personal brand that is respected in your field. From there, look at how they’ve established their brand and start taking putting in place the actions that will help you succeed in managing your name.
Start a blog, comment on articles, be careful what you upload to Facebook and always be true to yourself. No matter what strategy you take to develop your name, it’s important to recognize the value of doing things worth writing about. You see, writing blog posts are great and sharing relevant pictures is awesome but having journalists write about something great you’ve done is 10x better.
Don’t Let The Vanity Metrics Get To You
Social media is built on vanity metrics. Friends, connections, followers and likes have become an addiction for social media users. People are willing to do the oddest things for a handful of likes on their Facebook status or views on their latest Vine. It’s easy to quickly establish a false sense of entitlement or importance from these interactions.
You are not your likes on Instagram. You are not your followers on Twitter. You are not your connections on LinkedIn.
You are your story. You are your reputation. You are what you create.