How to Use Social Media to Improve Your Career
Emily Miethner believes there’s magic in connecting people. And whether working as CEO of FindSpark, an online community for young professionals seeking career success, or teaching social media courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she makes that magic happen.
Miethner, who was a Girl Scout throughout her childhood from Daisies all the way through high school, earned her Gold Award in Massachusetts in 2005. Even then, her Gold Award project, a community talent show, was about connecting people and showcasing their skills.
“The leadership and communication skills I gained through being a Girl Scout are immeasurable,” Miethner says. “It instilled in me a love of learning and curiosity. I earned every Brownie Try-It—I didn’t want to graduate until I earned as many badges as I possibly could.”
Since then, Miethner has built her own career using social media to connect people.
“I feel that the core of the internet is to use social media to build, grow, and maintain relationships,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many of my relationships began online and then became in-person relationships that have been very important to my career.”
Here, Miethner shares the five key ways she believes that social media can enhance anyone’s career:
1. Make yourself searchable.
“When business prospects are looking for people with your experience, you want them to be able to find you,” Miethner says.
“LinkedIn is the most obvious professional social networking site, so you should think about keywords to put on your LinkedIn page in terms of skills and experiences. This way, when someone is looking for a person like you, you come up as high as possible in search results.”
2. Take ownership of your story.
“It’s important to remember that on your social profiles you control the narrative,” she says. “A great way to do this is via a personal website, which is easy to create on some free platforms. It’s here that you can include what you want and leave out what you don’t want, which is very important for someone making a career change.”
3. Focus on the platform you like best.
“It’s easy to get caught up in ‘how much do I have to post’ or ‘do I
have to be on every platform,’” Miethner says. “For social media to be
useful, you need to enjoy it, so if you're more visual, maybe
Instagram is where you should post. If you’re a writer, a personal
website with a blog is great and if you prefer short things, maybe
Twitter. Finally, if you’re in tech and are a coder, maybe spend time
on GitHub. Just remember: You don’t have to be everywhere all the
4. Balance in-person with online networking.
“Your goal is to supplement in-person networking with online connecting,” she says. “For example, if you attend a networking event and there’s a speaker, introduce yourself, take a photo of you and the speaker, post it on LinkedIn, and tag that person. Hopefully, they’ll like it and share it.”
“At a networking event, live post and tag the people who are there. If you get a nice pull quote, video, or photo, there’s a good chance you’ll be reposted or retweeted. You can even consider starting a direct-message chain with the people you’ve just met.”
5. Make it easy for people to contact you.
“It’s very important to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about you—and contact you—no matter which social media platform you’re using,” Miethner says. “For example, I put my email in my Instagram bio and in my LinkedIn summary so that it’s as easy as possible for people to find me.”