Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Have you taken a social media break this summer? Social media has become a huge part of society and our daily schedules. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you use it. Before you jump back in, think about how much time you could save if you had a thoughtful strategy for measuring the value of your time beyond likes. Social media is one communication engagement tool that can help you develop career and speaking opportunities by building your brand and community online. What if you could use social media to move your career forward?
Globally we spend an average of two hours and twenty-three minutes daily on social media. With 60% saying they are constantly connected. There are many advantages and disadvantages to social media. Understanding them can allow you to get the most out of your social media time while avoiding significant pitfalls. Imagine knowing what you want to post, having a positive circle of people recommending you, and referring people to follow you regularly.
Social media is here to stay. LinkedIn’s website shows more than 645 + million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Ensure that your social media habits are adding more to your life than they subtract by setting clear goals and holding yourself responsible for staying on track.
Social media can add a lot to your life:
Establish yourself as a thought leader. LinkedIn’s corporate vision is to create economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce. If you are interested in advancing your career, social media can be a great way to share your insights from a conference, advice as a subject matter expert, or something you do well with the world to attract paid opportunities. Writing posts with relevant and timely information makes it easier for your followers to introduce you to the right people. Sharing your knowledge online is a free way to market yourself and your gifts.
Build your tribe. Most likely, you have friends, colleagues, and family around the world. Social media makes it easy to find the latest from the 2.23 billion people who log in to Facebook every month to stay updated on current events and news. Coordinate events and invite your friends to support causes important to you. Survey your audience and use analytics to adjust your content based on traffic and engagement. Try searching for people who are interested in solving the same problem or challenge to learn best practices, and you could meet a potential collaborator or future colleague.
Grow Your Network. Do you have friends you’ve only met online? You know, the person you’ve followed for years hopes your paths will cross someday. What would happen if you actually talked to them? Social media is not just about posting consistently; you have to talk to others. Establishing new relationships can help you be more productive and successful. You can meet people online, learn what you have in common, and introduce yourself for free! Plus, 88% of Instagram users are outside of the United States, and the platform has the highest interaction rate meaning greater engagement with your audience. If you want a New York mentor or a Paris recruiter, you’re in luck. If you like to travel, you can join Facebook Groups or search for locals with similar interests to start making friends in your destination country before you even take off.
Expand Your Influence. People need to know, like, and trust you to do business with you, refer you to their network, and believe you are an expert in your field. The first step is awareness; social media platforms like LinkedIn let you market to the world’s largest professional audience. Imagine if you could target your message and connect intentionally with recruiters, event planners, and potential customers online. If you have ideas, you want to spread and share, social media provides an effective platform to make your voice heard and build your credibility.
Monetize Your Brand. More than 60% of Instagram users report an income over $100,000, according to a survey of 2,000 U.S. residents’ social media habits. And 71% of U.S businesses use Instagram. There are over 25 million business profiles, and over 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day. It’s true; many people make money from social media, either directly by selling digital products or marketing their business. As an author, I can see a direct link between my online engagement and my book sales. From paid consulting gigs to speaking and partnership opportunities, you can enhance your business strategies if you have a plan to educate your audience and have implemented the systems to complete online sales.
Developing a career as a sought after speaker will expand the impact of your work globally. Social media can only help you if you have a plan to avoid the common missteps that get people stuck wasting time online.
The downsides of social media
There are many disadvantages, too:
Social media can trigger impostor syndrome. Scrolling perfectly lit, professionally produced videos and photos set in exotic locations can be enough to make you feel like there’s no point in posting. If you only have a few followers and not 10,000 followers you can’t even access some tools like live video on LinkedIn or the swipe up feature on Instagram. The idea of capturing the perfect video for many people is enough to trigger your worst social anxiety or even make you feel depressed directly comparing your journey to someone on the internet. You see their stunning home, crisp outfits, or new branding photos and it’s natural to feel like you’re not doing as well as they are. Repeat after me: I will not compare myself to someone on the internet. Seriously. Everyday there’s a story exposing the work behind the scenes to make the most casual shots look picture perfect. In my opinion it gives branding a bad name. The internet is not the place to hide your personality and create a new persona, my philosophy is to connect with others to learn and develop my interests.
Social media has a dark and dangerous side. Did you know that a robot in Saudi Arabia has protection as a human being? That means that if that robot starts to attack people, the creator couldn’t shut it down without a trial. Every day, we make technical advancements without a clear view of the long-term implications. Just as we’ve seen with the negative impacts on our attention span from our increasing use and potential addiction to digital devices, there is an ugly underbelly to social media that most people don’t want to think about when posting photos of our loved ones. Beyond the shallow end of the Internet ocean, there is a darker side that many of us wouldn’t want to access if we knew how. With each data breach, it becomes more apparent that there is a lack of innovation and authority driving the rules and bureaucratic red tape (remember net neutrality’s repeal?) alongside the fact there are no real geographic borders on the internet. Never forget the internet brought us the show Catfish when people pose as someone else to attract a love interest and sometimes convince them to send money or gifts before they are exposed as an impersonator. Remember that the next time you see your college friend with her seemingly perfect family, marriage, job, and house on Facebook.