How to Use Social Media for Professional Development

Advance your career like a pro with these helpful hints.

Social media is useful for many personal reasons: sharing photos of kids and pets, discovering new recipes and home decor inspiration, and even a good laugh. Social media can also be effective for building professional connections and advancing your career or business! Learning how to use social media for professional development can help advance your career.

Here are four tips for how to use social media for professional development:

  1. Know your platforms
  2. Build your network
  3. Join the conversation
  4. Never stop learning

Keep reading to learn more about ways to let social media help advance your career.

Know your platforms

It seems like new social media platforms emerge every day. Good news! You don’t have to try and keep up with the hottest new apps (unless lip-syncing on TikTok is your thing!). The following three social media platforms remain a few of your best bets for professional networking and branding:

  • LinkedIn

One of the largest social media platforms, LinkedIn is dedicated to professional networking. It’s helpful not only for job hunters, but also for connecting with fellow experts in your industry, posting content that showcases your work or expertise, and generating new leads.

  • Facebook

The world’s most influential social platform with more than two billion users worldwide, Facebook is another network to take into account when considering how to use social media for professional development. While many people use Facebook for personal connections, you can also use it to develop your professional brand by connecting with influencers in your field and sharing your professional accomplishments and interests.

  • Twitter

Twitter allows you to keep up with conversations among friends, influencers, and experts in real-time. Its fast pace and global audience can help expand your reach. Twitter is a great way to engage with clients and customers or with your professional connections.

Build your network

There’s an old saying, “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” The same is true in the professional world! There are millions of other professionals that might share many commonalities with you: shared friends or colleagues, interests, knowledge and education, or goals. With just a few clicks, you can connect with new people and exponentially expand your world. In business, these connections can open up a world of new possibilities for furthering your professional development, including:

  • Earn a favorable reputation
  • Build trust in your company or personal brand
  • Grow relationships with new and existing audiences
  • Exchange exciting new ideas
  • Demonstrate your expertise
  • Enhance your industry influence
  • Introduce your business to attract talent

Join the conversation

To make social media work for you, you must participate! This idea leads us to our next hint for how to use social media for professional development. Depending on your interest and comfort level, participation could be as easy as monitoring the latest hashtags and liking a few posts. However, you’ll get more out of social networking if you make it a two-way conversation. For example:

  • Reply to an interesting tweet with a comment or question or add your insight to a retweet.
  • Join a LinkedIn or Facebook business group that matches your interests or connects you to influencers in your industry. Answer some questions or ask your own to establish new relationships.
  • Celebrate your work and show off your skills. Don’t be afraid to own your successes! When using social media for professional development, share advice, start a discussion with fellow professionals, or post a link to a recent project or an article that quoted you.

Never stop learning

Social media is also a highly effective resource to keep up with the latest industry trends, watch your competitors, and stay relevant in your field. You can use it to advance your professional development by:

  • Following key influencers and publications for the latest news and analysis
  • Listening to the issues that excite (or concern) your network and industry
  • Gathering feedback from your contacts or customers

Social media also offers many training opportunities, from videos and podcasts to in-depth certificate courses. Experts often provide free resources along with paid reading materials or courses to help guide others in their field or across industries. The LinkedIn trainings based on the book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success” by the nationally recognized consultant, speaker, and trainer Wayne Breitbarth is one such example. You can take his advice on using social media for professional development – or create resources with a similar value for your audience and promote them on social media. The possibilities for career advancement using social networks are endles

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