On Monday I attended the ASTD Southern Connecticut Chapter’s monthly meeting. The topic was, what else: Social Media. The speaker was Jennifer Scott, of HireEffect LLC. She specializes in talent acquisition and career coaching. She helps her clients use social media for recruiting and/or job searches. She had great advice for both the people in the audience who are currently in career transition, and for the small business owners who are trying to reach more customers with their training/consulting services. Currently, I’m in neither of these categories, but certainly could be some day. Nevertheless, as someone who just recently began immersing himself in social media, I found her presentation to be valuable and helpful.
She focused on three key social media tools: LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter and made good points about each. But her main point was that we would be crazy not to take advantage of the networking opportunities afforded by social media. Years ago, companies had to work hard and pay dearly to get their name out there. Now, through these tools, the media is tuning into you! Social media tools provide free targeted advertising for your business, your job search, or your personal brand.
She gave some advice on how to develop a social media presence. Here are a few of her key points and my takeaways.
- Clearly define your value proposition. Before you jump in and start appearing all over the web, know what your niche is. What do you want to emphasize? What do you have to offer?
- Be consistent. Your web presence should make sense overall. In other words, your headline on LinkedIn and your Bio on Twitter should tell the same story about you – and it should match your overall value proposition.
- Optimize your profile. Take advantage of all the real estate offered on social networking sites to describe your offering or your company. Carefully consider keywords for your profile that are job, business, and industry specific for the audience you most want to reach. Remember, this is free targeted advertising!
- Don’t just show up; Participate! - Submit news articles. Initiate and join discussions. This is social media. Contribute to the groups that you join. Forward articles or people’s profiles to others who you think might benefit from them. When you make good points in a discussion, people naturally become curious about who you are and will want to link back to your LinkedIn profile or your company’s facebook fan page.
- Convert social networking into direct connections –Where it makes sense, call a social network contact to offer your services, or to find out more about what it is they have to offer. This is really what it is all about isn’t it?
I am about three months into my explorations with social media tools. Each day as I learn more I become more encouraged by the possibilities for using them for learning inside my organization. I really feel that we are on the cusp of a new evolution in corporate learning that will see us becoming more focused on creating environments to capture informal learning rather than being content and course deliverers.