Earlier this week, I attended a networking mixer for professional women, namely entrepreneurs, in my local area. While this is only the third event of its kind that I’ve attended, they’ve been a huge boon in terms of support and networking opportunities.
As I introduce myself to fellow networkers and explain my work in social media, I’m frequently greeted with a puzzled look. So many people are intrigued by social media and are oftentimes intimidated for a variety of reasons. Some folks cite that they don’t have time to use social media as part of their promotional efforts. Others are overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. The most common statement that I hear is, “I just don’t get Twitter.”
Do these statements apply to you?
I was inspired to write this blog by those who are interested in using social media for professional purposes and don’t know where to begin. Here are a few “jump start” tips:
-Please get a LinkedIn profile now. LinkedIn has become one of the greatest sources for referrals and job searches. Grab your resume, a cup of coffee and a few uninterrupted hours on a weekend morning and get started. Cruise through the profiles of other professionals in similar industries and emulate their style and format. Seek endorsements from current and former colleagues.
If you don’t have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or another platform that interests you, please do it now. Even if you don’t have immediate plans to use these sites, reserve your name now before someone else does.
-Establish a HootSuite account. HootSuite is a free and easy-to-navigate tool (with a free mobile app too) that allows you to bundle your social media updates and postings. You can set up an account in less than 30 minutes and cross-post to all of your social media sites simultaneously. HootSuite is a huge time-saver that also has a neat scheduling tool that enables you to schedule your posts in advance. This is especially handy as we head into the summer vacation season!
-Please don’t pay for social media accounts and upgrades if you’re just starting out. Yes, you can pay to upgrade your LinkedIn account or buy ad space on Facebook, but you should have your feet planted firmly beneath you first. There’s plenty of time to amp up your campaign once you’re more comfortable with the technology and you have a strategy in place.
-Stuck or still overwhelmed? Get help! Find a mentor, read blogs or hire someone to help steer you in the right direction.
Social media is one of the most nimble, powerful and effective marketing tools available to professionals today. It crosses all geographic lines and industries. In just a few dedicated hours, you’ll be on your way!