We all know the feeling of seeing that little red box of delight on your screen, boosting your ego and giving you the satisfaction that your thought, idea or witty post was liked by at least someone in the world. It's the virtual pat on the back that can give you the craved, instant gratification from your couch.
Whether you are the type to like each clever status, post party pictures to confirm to your “friends” how much fun you have, or make sure your boyfriend isn't tagged somewhere he said he wasn't, we all use Facebook to fill the subconscious void of insecurities.
If you were ahead of the times and had a Facebook back in 2005 when you needed a university email address to even join, you may have had to get rid of your virtual dirty laundry. This makes sure that when you are applying for a job at Google later down the line, you don't have to worry about your employers seeing your fabulous pictures of green beer on St. Patrick’s Day from when you were an undergrad.
In the PR world, branding ourselves is very important. Having an online presence that positively shows how well we use online communications and social media is crucial. A recent law was passed that allows companies to compile social media reports to screen potential hires. Studies show that 45 percent of companies use social media to look at applicants.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are useful for promoting yourself, not just showing off to your friends. Utilizing these sites to get a great job right out of college is an attainable goal. As a graduating senior restlessly looking for a job after college, I've started utilizing these sites to show how great of a PR professional and social media guru I am, instead of how much I enjoy a glass of wine.
Lessons I’ve learned about how to use social media sites to promote yourself include:
- Figure out who your target audience is
- Present your skills – whether through writing, photography, or just being creative
- Update often and with relevant information
- If this is your personal page but you also have many followers or friends that are business connections, maintain a balance between personal and professional updates
- Follow or “friend” businesses or brands that are similar to your interests
- Engage with your friends
- Respond promptly