As a Millennial, using social media is second nature to me. Whether it is to keep in touch with my family abroad, post personal life updates, or take pictures of my food, virtual communications
have been an integral part of my life since I can remember! My first job was in the public sector, where using social media during work hours was banned, so when I joined Rein4ce, I was surprised to find that social media played an important role in my day-to-day working life. In fact, I was encouraged to use it. However, it quickly became clear that I had to learn a new set of skills to use social media properly for business.
As more Millennials, and soon Generation Z’s, enter the working world it is essential that they understand the importance of social media in business, and how to use it effectively.
Below are my top tips for young professionals learning how to use social media for business.
1. LinkedIn is not the same as a dating app
When I first joined Rein4ce in 2016 I found myself unsure of what to do when a complete stranger connected with me on LinkedIn and asked for a coffee! Once I received reassurance from my manager that this was in fact normal practice and that I should not only connect, but also meet with him (he worked in communications in insurance) I realised what an important tool LinkedIn can be for networking. Work hard on your professional profile and start connecting with relevant people right away to build your own personal profile and business network.
2. Do not use a picture from a night out as your LinkedIn profile picture
At Rein4ce, we often conduct social media training sessions with clients and we always come across the same issue – choosing the right LinkedIn picture. Actually, all generations are guilty of this! Whether it is a glamorous shot from a night out, a pouty selfie, a picture of a group of friends, someone puffing on a cigar or holding an alcoholic beverage, or a corporate headshot from 20 years ago with completely different hair, it all needs to stop! A LinkedIn profile photo should be professional and only needs to be headshot. Most importantly, it should look like you do right now – so that someone would recognise you in the busy café you have agreed to meet in after connecting on LinkedIn. Keep it simple, keep it corporate – and you are allowed to smile!
3. Brand awareness
When used properly social media is one of the most effective tools for building a brand – as a company and also as an individual. A study by LinkedIn found that employees found on LinkedIn were 40% less likely to leave the company in the first six months. Another study by Statistic Brain Research Institute in 2017 said that 122 million people on LinkedIn received an interview through the platform and 35.5 million people were hired by a person they connected with on the site. So, whether it’s liking a company post, sharing an interesting article or writing a blog, LinkedIn is an excellent tool for building a personal brand to help further professional development.
4. Don’t forget to be professional
In a generation where Millennials grew up communicating through platforms and sites such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, it can be difficult to make the transition from informal to formal language and interaction. Don’t forget to keep content professional on whichever platform you are using. Don’t be rude or aggressive and treat all social media encounters as you would with
face-to-face encounters. That does not mean avoiding any posts that illustrate personality or an opinion – in fact showing your personal side is one of the best things about LinkedIn – it can illustrate to people how interesting you are and make you more memorable.
5. Don’t be on it 24/7
Don’t use these tips as a reason to be on social media all the time. Remember to be productive and take the time every few months to assess if your time is being spent on the right social media site. For example, should you be tweeting 10 times a day if your audience is on LinkedIn? In fact, there are companies that have conducted some serious research into this – for example, the communications team of a large corporate in the insurance and reinsurance sector actually banned its staff from using Twitter a few years ago because analytics showed they were not reaching their target audience.
Like it or not, social media and professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, are all now an essential part of proper career management and progression. Learning the dos and don’ts of proper social media etiquette and how to use it professionally should be one of the first skills a Millennial should embrace when they first come in to the working world.