It’s no secret that social media is ubiquitous. Just over the week of the Fourth of July — from the blow up of San Diego’s fireworks show to the TomKat breakup — chances are good you got the latest news from Twitter or Facebook.
Entertainment value aside, social media savvy can have a major impact on your career. Too many people, though, don’t take the time to evaluate their voice and make the most of the various platforms available.
Just last week, Twitter and LinkedIn got a divorce of sorts….Twitter will no longer automatically post your updates to LinkedIn. And you know what?! I think that’s positive. I am not a fan of seeing the exact same content from someone I follow on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Each of these three major platforms have nuances, and by finding a voice on each, you can showcase diverse facets of your personality and work style.
Not everyone needs to be privy to details of your personal life…nor do many of your personal friends care about best practices in your industry.
As a freelance writer, I am constantly looking for new ways to connect with potential clients and like-minded professionals. I realized that for me, forays into LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a personal blog offered a way to showcase different voices and writing styles…and thus reach more potential clients with varying needs.
While your profession might not require the same versatility, it’s still fun to explore various ways you can communicate on social media and remember that the norms for each platform are different.
Here’s my take on the culture of each of the main social media platforms:
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a business luncheon. You are there to fraternize with peers and show your polished professional persona to potential clients.
Who’s reading? Well, if you’re connected to the right people, it’s current and former clients and colleagues.
On LinkedIn (come find me…Cathie Ericson), I share articles on best practices in the fields of marketing and writing. It’s all business!
Twitter: Twitter is a work-oriented cocktail party. You’re still there in your business suit working on presenting that professional face, but you might have added some flair or sparkle with your accessories and makeup.
Twitter is where you can let your personality shine. Find like-minded individuals and start interacting.
Read a primer on the use of “@”, direct messages, retweeting and hashtags so that you are clear on the culture and how to interact.
Share articles, observations, mention others. But remember, no one cares what you had for lunch, unless it was AMAZING! (Find me @CathieEricson.)
Facebook: Facebook is a neighborhood potluck. You’re with your friends and neighbors..people whom you know well. So you might be a little more candid, but still remember you never know who is listening or just happening to be driving by!
This is where you share pictures of your vacation, amazing accomplishments about your kids, funny stories…that type of thing.
Because when you veer too far into that information on Twitter, you risk losing the attention of “thought leaders,” whom you are interacting with.
You can find me at Facebook at…wait! Don’t find me on Facebook! I don’t know you well enough for a neighborhood get together!
Personal Blogs: If you’re verbose like me (thereby challenged by the Twitter character limit), and if you find writing “fun” as I do, a blog is a great outlet. I consider a blog to be “Girls’ (or Guys’) Night Out,” where you can indulge in subjects that are personally meaningful to you.
At my blog I talk about topics about which I am passionate…kids/family, fitness/health and pop culture.
It’s one more way I can show potential clients that not all my writing has to be purely business oriented, I can adopt the edgy tone, that is sometimes warranted in a client’s blog.
I can showcase that I am up to date on best practices in health and fitness and that I have a few parenting opinions of my own!
Bear in mind…we all know that social media can go awry quickly.
Here are a few caveats, no matter whom your audience or what your voice:
- Be genuine, no matter what the vehicle.
- Remember social networks are ALL searchable. Though some topics are more appropriate than others, don’t ever post something you wouldn’t want a client to see, just as you would always keep decorum whether at a work cocktail party or a neighborhood block party.
And finally, the key word in social media is SOCIAL!
Don’t just lurk. Interact. Have fun. Add value.
See you in the Twittersphere!
by Cathie Ericson