How to Use Social Media to Make Professional Connections

Want to meet top companies, new mentors, and other awesome, talented young pros like you?Join us for Hustle Summit, the most epic networking event you’ll ever attend, taking place on Friday, January 27th, 2017 at Irving Plaza. We’ll connect you digitally and in-person to the coolest companies, greatest pros across industries, and your future life-long friends. Companies we work with include HBO, Scripps Networks, BuzzFeed, Blue Apron, IPG Mediabrands, L’Oréal, and more. Learn more & save the date at hustlesummit.co

 

Whether you want to showcase your work, optimize your professional image, or reach out to people you admire, social media can help you build your network and even land your dream job.

At Find & Follow Your Passion at Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts panel Hashtag to Hired: Why Your Online Presence Matters – seamlessly moderated by Jennifer Hsieh, Personal Style Blogger at www.jennifhsieh.com – Celia Berk, Chief Talent Officer at Young & Rubicam Group, H. Caldwell Tanner, Head Illustrator at CollegeHumor.comSree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Nisha Chittal, Social Media Content Editor at MSNBC, shared their thoughts on how to use social media to develop connections. Read on to learn how it’s done.

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Step 1: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

“People don’t appreciate what LinkedIn can do for their careers. It’s not just about jobs, it’s about career management.”  – Sree Sreenivasan

The first step to making connections online is to make sure that your digital presence shows you at your best. If you set up a LinkedIn profile three years ago and haven’t looked at it since, it’s time to dig up that password. LinkedIn adds new features all the time, so check to see how you can enhance your profile and keep it up to date with your latest accomplishments. You never know who is going to view your profile – panelist Celia Berk admits to using it multiple times per day.

Step 2: Make Your Social Media Profiles Public

“There is no separation of personal and professional anymore. Any hiring manager will find everything, so skew to the professional side.”  – Nisha Chittal

A few years ago, when people realized that employers and even college admissions officers were looking up applicants on social media, the solution seemed simple: lock it up. Even if profiles didn’t necessarily contain scandalous material, people made themselves unsearchable to prevent any private posts or information from surfacing.

But the game has changed. Recruiters expect to see your digital footprint and become suspicious if they find only private accounts. Plus, you’re missing out on an opportunity to impress them. While you may not want your Facebook profile to be completely public, by selectively sharing your posts, you can use your profile to your advantage. Do you ever share your creative work with your friends? Do you post articles and thoughts related to your industry? Make these posts public to show recruiters how much you think and care about your work.

Panelist Sree Sreenivasan brought up something few of us think of: recruiters can see your Instagram too. In fact, Instagram can be the best social network for checking up on an applicant and finding out what their true interests are. So continue to post pictures of your cat if you love her, but don’t approach Instagram with #nofilter.

Step 3: Make Connections Online

“If you can’t take the time to write a customized line on LinkedIn, then I don’t need to know you.”  – Celia Berk

It’s tempting to hit the “connect” button on LinkedIn without changing the automatic greeting (Warning: on the LinkedIn app, you don’t even have the option), but according to the panel, this is a fatal mistake if you don’t know the person very well or aren’t standing right beside them. Be sure to remind people where you met and what you talked about. Reaching out cold is even trickier: it is essential that you indicate why you want to connect. Even asking for “advice for a young grad” can be too general – give them a specific question that they can respond to.

Additionally, not everyone uses the same social networks, so pay attention to where the person you want to connect with is active online. You may be a Twitter maven, but if your contact hasn’t tweeted in a month, it’s probably not the best way to get in touch.

Step 4: Take Connections Offline

It is somewhat easier on LinkedIn to request a meeting or chat, especially if you have shared connections, but on twitter, it should be a multi-step process. Nisha Chittal advises first retweeting the person you want to connect with, responding to their questions, and sharing content with them online. Once they are familiar with you and a rapport has been established, you can indicate your interests and ask for their email address (it’s hard to answer important questions in 140 characters!). You then have a better platform to ask questions and eventually set up a meeting or phone call.

Step 5: Follow Up

“I’m only here for the twitter followers!”  – H. Caldwell Tanner

Once you’ve made a connection, use social media to follow up and maintain it. And as rewarding as it is to bring digital connections into the real world, don’t forget to do the reverse – follow and connect with people shortly after meeting them. It’s a great way to find out more about their interests, form a deeper relationship, and stay in touch.

Have you turned digital connections into lasting relationships? Share your social media networking tips with us below.

Want to meet top companies, new mentors, and other awesome, talented young pros like you?Join us for Hustle Summit, the most epic networking event you’ll ever attend, taking place on Friday, January 27th, 2017 at Irving Plaza. We’ll connect you digitally and in-person to the coolest companies, greatest pros across industries, and your future life-long friends. Companies we work with include HBO, Scripps Networks, BuzzFeed, Blue Apron, IPG Mediabrands, L’Oréal, and more. Learn more & save the date at hustlesummit.co

 

 

About the Author

Lauren Campbell is an Advertising Executive who loves brand strategy, writing, and baking layer cakes. You can reach her with questions and comments on LinkedIn.

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