At first glance, social media and career-building might not be related to each other. However, you might be pursuing a social networking career, or you simply might want to improve your social network skills – in both cases, you will need to learn how to use social media platforms. Moreover, social media can influence your career both positively and negatively. Hence, here are the seven ways of how social media can help your career or harm it.
1. Keeping an Online Portfolio
First and foremost, social media platforms can be used to keep an online portfolio. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram that mostly rely on visual content can be used by visual creators such as photographers, artists, and graphic designers. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter that mostly rely on text can be used by writers and journalists. There are even dedicated platforms like Medium (writing) and DeviantArt (art), but you can mostly use different platforms for all kinds of content.
By having an online portfolio on display on one of the social media platforms, you will be able to showcase your work and grow your online following. You will also get a unique opportunity: every time someone wants to hire you and requests your portfolio, you can simply send them a link to your profile where they can view your works and see the reaction to them that will serve as social proof.
2. Documenting Your Mistakes
The downside of having a social media account (or multiple accounts) is that each and every one of your mistakes gets documented. This can be especially damaging when you have a substantial follower base. Even if you upload something and then delete it a few minutes or moments later, someone may already save it and then reproduce it elsewhere online which will, in turn, damage your reputation and may cause a scandal.
If you have been using social media networks for a few years, you probably forgot some things you posted online. Your views may have changed, so whatever offensive statement you tweeted two years ago is probably not something you’d tweet now. But the Internet remembers which means anyone can dig up your past mistakes and use them against you – including your potential employers.
3. Connecting with Employers
Speaking of employers, social media platforms are widely used by individual clients and companies alike to find freelancers or regular employees to work for them. In fact, some platforms like LinkedIn are specifically designed to connect specialists from all over the world as well as those working together in the same office.
Someone may notice your art on your Instagram profile. Once they check out more of your works posted online, they decide to get in touch with you and ask you about a project they need help on. This is, undoubtedly, a great opportunity to get a client who comes to you rather than someone you are spending your time looking for. Besides, if they like what you produce for them, they might come back for more.
4. Getting A Bad Reputation
As mentioned above, social media platforms document your every move, you every mistake. In essence, this can lead to terrifying results, but going through a scandal is one thing while getting a bad reputation is another. Some employers may forgive your old tweets and hire you once the crowd has calmed down, but if you get into multiple scandals, your reputation may be permanently damaged.
As Monica Connor from the custom writing reviews site Online Writers Rating says, ‘Social media platforms, especially the popular ones like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, can be very dangerous for your career if you treat them irresponsibly. You need to be careful with what you say and avoid getting into arguments or insulting anyone.’
5. Finding Future Partners
Freelancers and specialists are not the only ones who can benefit career-wise from using social media platforms. Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, start-up owners, and business owners can use social media to find and connect with future partners.
Indeed, there are special websites and directories with investors and the like, but many small businesses started with two people finding each other on regular social media platforms and working together to open the business they both dreamed about. Friends often become business partners, so why can’t these be online friends?
6. Learning Useful Information
Educating yourself may feel like something you had done at high school and then in college or university, but learning is actually something you need to do your whole life if you want to stay up-to-date with the latest events and achievements. Specialists aren’t just specialists because they have a degree – it’s also because they have experience and are constantly ‘leveling up’ their knowledge in their sphere.
Incidentally, social media platforms can help you learn a lot of useful information both in your sphere and on other topics. YouTube, for example, has millions of videos explaining complicated and simple concepts on topics ranging from history to engineering to graphic design. Facebook has groups dedicated to various subjects while Instagram has accounts that post tutorials, facts, tips, etc.
7. Building A Positive Brand on Social Media
Last but not least, while social media can easily get you into a scandal, it can also help you build a positive brand for yourself. This doesn’t just concern your business (if you have one) – it also means an image of who you are as a person.
You may be a professional investigative journalist or you could be a makeup artist working for an up-and-coming celebrity – in both cases, you can use social media platforms to find like-minded people and those interested in who you are and what you do. In other words, social media networks offer you opportunities that you wouldn’t have if you only interacted with your immediate, friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances.
All in all, social media platforms are definitely an important part of our lives – but they are also crucial for our careers. Avoid making mistakes listed in this article and follow the tips that will help you use social media to its fullest and build your career with its help.
Author: Frank Hamilton
Frank has been working as an editor at essay review service Best Writers Online. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing, and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German, and English.