I was watching this segment on TV today that revolved around people who are trying to start a business or seeking for a job during these times. For this, there was a lot of focus on how people should start taking advantage of social media platforms that are out there to make connections with people that could give you your next job or referral.
For those who this may be foreign to, social media is basically sites/platforms that are out there on the Internet where people can connect with others on a more personal level. Some of the most common ones by name nowadays are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
From my experience, social media can be a great way to connect with others who you may normally not have had the opportunity to otherwise. This is great for young entrepreneurs too Iâ€™d say as many times there is a barrier in trying to connect with people who are more established in the professional sense. So how exactly can you use these sites to get a job or more business and which one is the best? First, here is my personal opinion of these sites and my experience:
Facebook â€“ When I first tried this service it sounded like a simple way to keep in touch with your friends and family members. In many ways it was addicting too as through the service you can easily re-acquaint with people from your past such as old schoolmates.
As the service became more popular, it seemed like everyone that I talked to would ask if I had a Facebook account to stay in touch. Instead of saying â€œDo you have a business card?â€ a lot of people would ask â€œDo you have a Facebook account?â€ Even for people who I have only done some work with shortly, using this service to stay in touch has created more opportunities in the future.
Twitter â€“ I was a bit skeptical of this when I first heard of it a few years back. It is basically a â€œmicro-bloggingâ€ platform where people are limited to writing posts with a 140 character limit. Example, people post quick thoughts about how they feel, what they are doing or interesting things that they have encountered. For myself, I already blog so I didnâ€™t really see the point in it.
However, I gave it a try and soon discovered that if you treat it more as a way to learn and connect with others it can actually be a pretty resourceful tool. At the same time, this is the less intimidating method Iâ€™d say to connect with people too. Many times people can just ask out in the open such as â€œI am looking for someone to hire who can handle my companyâ€™s marketing workâ€. Sure enough, everyone in his/her network can see that request as well as others. Usually works effectively too.
LinkedIn â€“ For this service I always viewed it as an online business card. The concept is suppose to be that by connecting with others that you already know, you can see their personal network of friends and acquaintances as well. With that, it is suppose to make it easier to contact a person that you may need help from professionally if they know that you already know a person whom they have worked with. Like an old fashion introducing your friend to another except in an online environment.
Iâ€™m personally not a big fan of this one and have actually closed my account. It just didnâ€™t seem fun to use in anyway and it felt like it is one of those situations where everyone is in a room with suits on and you donâ€™t really get to know people better in anyway. I remember a client that I worked with that had a friend that wanted to meet me as he was looking for a possible business collaboration and hence she used this as a way to bridge the gap. The process seemed redundant that it would have been easier to just use the phone I thought.
So which one is the best to use for jobs and business purposes? Kind of hard to say as it depends on your style. For myself, I treat them all in a fun way which ironically creates opportunities. I personally find Facebook as more of a keeping in touch site with people that you have met in real life and Twitter as the platform to make new connections while discovering new things instantly. Again, I no longer use LinkedIn.
Now a fear that many people have about sites like these is the concern of privacy. Honestly, it just comes with the territory where if you published it then most likely it is not going to be private forever. Therefore, use your own discretion as if you donâ€™t want something like private family photo gatherings to be seen then simply donâ€™t publish it.
Imagine you connecting with say a potential employer or customer and then they see a picture of you chugging this keg of beer while naked in a public area. But overall, social media can be a great way to grow and expand your professional career regardless of what field you are in. Good time to start learning too.