Making social media work for you - Michelle Gibbings

Thanks to, in this article Michelle advises while visibility on social media is increasingly a requirement of modern life, she warns your posts can instantly shape how people see you, your character and your reputation.

As adults, we can be quick to advise children and teenagers to be careful about what they post on social media, but are we applying the same standard to our own actions?

There are plenty of examples where a person’s social media post has thrown them off track, come back to haunt them and derailed their career.

An ill-timed comment, a thoughtless response, an opinion that you may change, or an action you may later regret can’t be easily erased in the digital era.

In a face-to-face context, when we meet someone for the first time we quickly assess whether we like them, trust them, want to work with them or want to do business with them.

Research highlights we have somewhere between seven and 15 seconds to make a first impression face-to-face.

This is based on what is known as ‘thin slicing’.

Frank Bernieri, of Oregon State University, has found we assess people relatively quickly, without much data.

This assessment is made on a raft of factors.

It might be a glance, their handshake, what they wear, their demeanour, whether they maintain eye contact and how they smile.

Our quickness to assess and judge also holds in a digital world. A statement, a comment or liking an article, which only takes a few seconds, attaches to your reputation.

While that action may not represent your whole perspective on an issue, it will shape how people see you, your character and your reputation.

There is no separation between a personal brand and your professional brand in a digital world.

What you post about your personal life on your private Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter account impacts how you are seen professionally.

Your reputation is one of your most essential career assets.

So, just as you invest in building up your educational qualifications and your leadership skills, pay attention to how you develop and maintain a social media profile that enhances your career.

You want your social media commentary to reflect your values and what’s important to you.

When you post or comment, ask yourself: Does this represent me when I am at my best? Will I be proud to stand by this comment now and in the future? Will this action enhance or detract from my reputation?

In a rapidly-changing working world, you want to manage your career progress and be ready to take advantage of opportunities that come your way.

To do this, you need not just to be known but to be known for something.

This is hard to do if you are invisible online. You want to be more than just visible. You want to stand out from the crowd.

There are three core parts to this approach.

Build the foundation

Get the basics in place for your social platform of choice. This includes the set-up, establishing your profile and working out how to best leverage the tool.

Design your position

You go beyond the basics, starting to examine and implement the activities you need so your profile online has presence, resonance and relevance.

This is about making social media work for you.

Rock your presence

It’s a deliberate strategy of the 5C’s where you Connect, Create, are Consistent, Check and Control.

When you design your position you take the time to make social media work for you. Here are some tips to consider.

Fit for purpose

Select the content you share to suit the platform’s purpose.

For example, what you share on LinkedIn will differ from what you share on Instagram or TikTok.

Think long-term

It’s easy to upload but not so easy to erase. Think long-term when sharing socially and be cautious about what you post, when and what you say.

Select your audience

Be clear on who can see your content by regularly checking your privacy settings.

Just as you control what you post, be deliberate about who you want to see your posts.

Be professional

While being beige and bland doesn’t cut it on social media, you also want to remain authentically you and professional.

So, balance your desire for impact with a professionally curated approach.

Social media can accelerate and enhance your career when you use it wisely.

Take the time to consider how you best use your platforms of choice in a way that suits you and your career objectives.

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