Six Tips on Using Your Personal Social Media for Professional Growth
By Maddie Kjosa, Quotes UCF
Social aptitude (almost) looks better than a resume.
For anyone in the Communications/PR field, having a strong social presence goes a long way in establishing yourself as a professional. It indicates dedication to digital, adaptability, creativity, and ability to tell a story through something other than press releases or news articles. Having a strong presence also eliminates the struggle that many college students or fresh graduates face in getting a job with no prior experience.
With dedication and creativity, you can enter an interview with skills in content creation, analytics, SEO, CMS, and more, all without interning or spending money on courses/conferences.
This is something I’ve seen clearly in my time as a Communications student at the University of Central Florida. Across campus, I see students of every major focus more on their digital presence, whether it be via blogging, vlogging, becoming a micro-influencer, or having Instagram photoshoots with friends. Call it a trait of our generation.
Yet regardless of how old you are or how much you know, it is never too late or less important to have a strong social media presence. This is a field new to everyone. Therefore, it is paramount that we as communications professionals know how to use it, and moreover, use it well.
So, whether you’re fresh out of college or years into a career, here are some tips to get you started on using your personal social for professional growth:
- Find what you love. It’s much easier to focus on one or two major aspects of your life in creating a digital presence.
- Find the medium that best serves telling the story of that love. It can be slightly depressing to see people who seem to do it all, but there’s always one platform they do the best. Determine what “the best” is for you; videos, writing, photography, etc. After doing this, mainly use that medium in your social media to continue improving your skills.
- Get a support network. Some of the best communications professionals got their start by connecting with others of similar goals. Being in FPRA is a HUGE start, but also seek locals or friends who love what you love and create content together!
- Learn about social media tools by using them on your personal accounts. Interested in social analytics? Sign up for a free Hootsuite account and connect your accounts to it. You can also browse the in-program analytics offered by Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see what metrics matter on each platform.
- What about website analytics? Create a free Google Analytics account and connect it to your website like I did for metrics like bounce rate, user data, and more.
- Take advantage of mobile apps! The App Store is filledwith a variety of apps that social media professionals use to create content. Some of my favorites are Canva, Unfold, Adobe Spark Post, Adobe Lightroom and PicPlayPost. Tip: I always test apps out on my personal social before using them professionally.
While more exist, these are all really easy and beneficial ways to start improving your professional social media skills with personal accounts. For all of my fellow UCF students who plan to attend Intern Pursuit and similar job fairs, remember that any skill you learn personally can and should be on your resume, portfolio and mentioned to employers. For example, explaining how you used Instagram Analytics and engagement tactics to increase your following by 500 accounts in six months. It doesn’t have to come from a job to be valid experience!
Due to the nature of social media itself, I offer one final word of advice: stay current. You never know when the next big thing will hit, and staying current will ensure that your social strategy is too.