How To Amp Up Your Career With Social Media

We all love using social media: From snapping quick pictures of pretty cafes to showing your friends what an amazing time you're having drinking margaritas on the beach, it's a fun way to spend time and connect with people. But did you know you can also use social media to help you career? It's not just for sharing snaps of impressive sushi arrangements or tweeting your thoughts on the newest Bachelor episode — it can also help you assert yourself in your industry, and not only help others know you exist but also that you have class ideas to share.

Back in the good old days, the only way to build your career was to show up to work on time and show your office how above and beyond you were willing to go. But now, you have an audience. Now you can reach hundreds of thousands of people and share your enthusiasm, expertise, and always-growing and developing ideas with a couple quick clicks of a button.

So how exactly do you do that? It's well and good if you start using Instagram and Twitter to promote yourself as a bosslady, but how do you do it effectively? Below are 11 tips on how to use social media to grow your career — put those hashtags to work!

1. Start A Blog

Whether you're an aspiring stylist, entrepreneur, or needle-pointer (anything!), starting your own blog not only helps put you on the map, but allows you to speak like an expert in your field. When you don't yet have a platform to share your know-how, a blog allows you to create it for yourself. Nina Radetich, marketing consultant at Radetich Marketing + Media tells Bustle in an email, "The cornerstone of any strategy to build authority in your industry is a blog. Use your blog to not only showcase your expertise, but also to share your point of view. It’s your unique point of view that will help distinguish you from others in your industry and help you get attention in a noisy media world." Pitch your voice into the conversation and show that you're an asset to the industry.

2. Copy The Competition

Are you at a loss as to what to post and where? Scope out your competition and see what their strategy is for inspiration or a starting point. Business writer Rich Bellis at entrepreneur site Fast Company suggested, "Find a few peers in your field whom you admire (or envy), check out which platforms they’re using in order to get their names and ideas out there, and stake out a presence alongside them. You can start small, then build up at your own pace." By taking a quick study of the kind of content they post, who they follow and engage with, and what gets a big response, you can have a clearer idea as how to begin yourself.

3. Share Your Projects

Use social media as a newsletter-like tool that shares all the interesting industry-related things you're currently brewing. Bellis offered, "Social platforms should be where you share what you’re working on." If you're researching a cool blog post, working on an intriguing project, attending seminar and networking events, share it all with your audience. Give behind the scenes peeks and anecdotes. These are platforms where you can share your excitement over your field, an inspire those that are just as jazzed about those interests.

4. Curate And Share Content

In addition to creating your own posts, you can share your interest and authority by sharing curated content through your social media. Not only will it lead people (and as a result, opportunities) to find you, but it will give you a chance to flex your knowledge on the current hot topics of your industry — just make sure to interject your own opinion when you do.

Radetich shares, "You need to take that one step further by adding your own voice to that content. If you disagree with a writer’s point of view, express your own opinion (respectfully, of course). If something resonates with you greatly, make sure your audience knows that too. It’s another way to forge a deeper connection with the people who take an interest in you online."

5. Use Pinterest To Grow Your Brand

While Pinterest is more visual based, it can still be used in many clever ways to help people find you and your skillset. It's a great tool to help build and solidify your career brand.

Olivia Clemmons, a senior marketing coordinator at the Association for Talent Development, suggested, "Create boards showcasing your professional skills, or boards that exhibit your values and ethics." Pin articles, visuals, tips, and images that not only tie into the industry you're apart of, but also express your unique niche or personality. For example, I'm a writer that has a passion for feminism and body positivity, so my boards would be filled with feminist art, body posi articles, and body diverse ads, bloggers, and editorials. Get creative, and don't forget to follow users who share your professional interests so you can connect!

6. LinkedIn Is A Powerful Tool

While posting to Instagram and Twitter may be more fun, LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to your career. Clemmons offered, "According to a study by JobVite, 94 percent of job recruiters are on LinkedIn, which makes this social networking service a major marketing tool for you." Make sure your profile is up-to-date with your resume, and that you actively link with other professionals in your field to grow your reach.

7. Actually Engage With Your Followers

While it might be exciting to watch the number tally on your social media rise, are you actually utilizing those connections in a real way? Radetich advises, "If I had to encapsulate all of this advice into 4 words, I’d say: be human and participate. There are no original ideas. The only original is you. So show people the real human behind the computer. Engage with those who choose to converse with you online. You’ll be surprised at how many real-life opportunities arise this way." Any conversation can easily lead to an opportunity or a collaboration.

8. Use Social Media As A First Contact

Are you obsessed with a particular company or want to one day work for a specific brand? Do you greatly admire a distinct entrepreneur or want a particular person to mentor you? Social media can be your first point of contact! Career writer Joe Issid at Monster explained, "It is a lot easier to approach someone through a social network than it would be to do so at a cocktail party. So don’t be shy. If a potential employer has a public profile on a professional social media platform, feel free to introduce yourself." Comment on a particular article they posted or share your thoughts on a project — whatever it is, use it as the beginning of a new relationship.

9. Join Groups

Whether they be Facebook groups, Pinterest boards, LinkedIn groups, or Twitter chats, joining and participating in groups not only links you with like-minded professionals, but it helps you create relationships with people that could one day lead you to opportunities. According to business writer Haley Osborne at self improvement site Getting Smart, "Create a list of the most popular and influential communities and join them. Contribute to the conversations, ask and answer questions and leave meaningful comments so that other group participants noticed you." Work hard to connect with the key members of these groups, and watch your network and circle of influence grow.

10. Don't Feel Like You Need To Tackle It All

While there are many different platforms you can choose to engage in, don't feel like you need to be a pro at all of them in order to be a success. Instead, choose the ones that would benefit you the most. Radetich recommends, "Do some research on the audiences of the social channels. Find out where your potential employers or clients hang out most often, and invest your time there." The key here is to target your audience, not to spread yourself thin.

11. Take It Offline

Have you spent some time getting close to certain followers or industry leaders, exchanging ideas and support in 140 characters or less? It's time to take that relationship offline and into the real world. Bellis recommended, "You should be using your social platform to build relationships outside of the digital space, using it to message people and set up meetings with people, [and] getting yourself out there." It's not enough to engage in banter and retweet — to truly get ahead, you need to get in front of those connections you worked hard to build!

So are you ready to take your career onto another level? Use these tips and watch yourself grow.

Images: @lichipan/Instagram