Managing Your Career with Social Media

There are many reasons people use social media. Some use it as a forum for stating opinions, others to keep in touch or getting back in touch. Still some for no other reason than it’s interesting and fun. Most of us connect on Linkedin, to keep our eye out for a new journey or just in case the economy continues to tank and there may be a need to find a new job.

If you are a hiring manager you no doubt conduct searches on your candidates to learn whatever you can. Most of the discussion in corporations is about not hiring someone that has embarrassing photos or videos, or questionable friends. The internals of your firm are concerned about reputation and security. But there is another side to this issue. There are lots of people who are now well established in the social media space and are writing and creating exciting and insightful content. They have built formidable networks and are becoming influencers in their own way or on their own topics. An argument might soon be made that these people should command a premium when considering them for jobs, projects or unique roles. Perhaps even compensation.

Charlene Li, former Forrester Analyst and VP touched on a concept called Personal CPM. No proven formula exists yet, but to summarize, it’s based on:

  • Your authority on a topic
  • Your network’s interest and authority on a topic
  • The trust your network places in you for the topic.

She was connecting this to how marketers might look at social networks as a business model. They might pay to reach the higher CPM people, and networks might compensate them to join their network. Interesting. In this post I am taking a slightly different approach and aiming it as managing your career path.

Employers who need to make some tough decisions on who to keep when they re-organize their businesses, could look more favorably on employees who are more connected (higher CPM) in the social space. If you have a lot of followers and an impressive network you may in fact take them with you to your next job if you leave. That could translate across a wide set of impacts, from lost customers to reduced brand reputation.

For years most people could only connect with me when they physically saw me, via my phone, street address (a letter on paper) or e-mail. Thanks to the explosion of Web 2.0 and social networking applications my psyche manifests itself in many forms and as a result I have a continually growing number of identities. Getting in touch with me now, or leaving a comment is amazingly easy. Here is a sampling of who I am now.

  • expedientmeans.com
  • twitter.com/stevefurman
  • twitpic.com/photos/stevefurman
  • friendfeed.com/stevefurman
  • flickr.com/photos/furman/
  • youtube.com/user/steveafurman
  • slideshare.net/SteveFurman
  • stevefurman.slide.com/
  • platial.com/stevefurman
  • linkedin.com/in/stevefurman
  • facebook.com/profile/stevefurman
  • delicious.com/SteveFurman

I can compose or upload to any of these services from my browser and most of them from my iPhone with ease. There are services like ping.fm that after a simple set-up allow you to update all your social networks from one place.

Building your social network is critical to managing your career these days. But how do you do it? Here are some simple steps to building your network and establishing your social identity to further your career.

  1. Move beyond your resume. Establish yourself on Linkedin and build your network. Connect with your peers from work, your past jobs and schools. Ask for recommendations on your work from trusted associates. Join and be active in groups that match your expertise and interests.
  2. Start a blog. You are one of millions, and so you must break through. Leverage what you get paid to do at work and connect it to your passions on your blog. Obviously don’t give up the trade secrets or publish the strategic or financial plan. A good way to start is to think about all those things you’d love to change about your industry or particular craft and write about it. What are others doing well or doing poorly. Critique them. If you affiliate yourself with your firm on your site put out a disclaimer that these are your own ideas and not ones endorsed by your company.
  3. Put your ideas on SlideShare. Create some powerpoints, set-up a SlideShare profile and upload them. Connect with others on SlideShare and join groups. You will be exchanging ideas and getting new ones almost immediately.
  4. One word, Twitter. You’ve heard about it. It sounds silly and a lot of work. Trust me, it’s a great way to find people who are interesting and influential. People who are active on Twitter are very well connected. They really “get it” when it comes to social media and are interested in helping people, not just stroking their egos.
  5. Set-up a FriendFeed conversation. You can start discussions and have them play out on FriendFeed. It can also be embedded in your facebook page for instance. It’s a way to subtly inject your more professional thoughts into your personal spaces. Helps expand the conversation.
  6. Keep the usual suspects fresh. That is facebook, MySpace, friendster, flickr, YouTube. These sites will normally display the more personal/family aspects of your life. We are all human and work-life balance is critical to success. This is the other side of your game face displayed in meetings.
  7. Promote, promote, promote. Communicate with your network to drive traffic to your sites and elicit comments and interest. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” carries some weight. When I attend forums or summits, I’m always exchanging blogs and Twitter IDs with people I find interesting and connected. No place is easier to connect than through social tools and spaces. Much faster and easier than those boring parties.

Now for what not to do. Never, ever plagiarize. If you read something on a blog and like it, no problem as long as you are building on the ideas. Give credit. Your credibility and reputation is at stake. Remember, you’re using this space to enhance your standing and expertise. Copying others doesn’t support that. Re-Tweet is a fine thing, just mark it RT. Same for photos. I try to use my own, but when I don’t I always give credit.

This only scratches the surface, there are many more ways to do this. Hopefully this has at least sparked some new thoughts on how to manage your career for greater success and satisfaction. More ideas? Let’s have ’em.

4 comments

  1. Very interesting thoughts especially on how to retain your job in a tanking global economy 🙂 Undoubtedly the importance of networking will only grow bigger.

    With every organisation at least conducting a regular google search on your name before hiring you, what you do online will no doubt affect your offline life in great proportions.

  2. Nice post Steve! I noticed your question and the link to the post on LinkedIn. We are using social networks on a regular basis to help business owners connect with those that actually need their services and/or they know someone else that does; harvesting referrals. The technology is so advanced many business owners don’t understand the capabilities for growing their businesses – still a lot of educating to be accomplished. Again, thanks for the post.

  3. Steve this is a fantastic go to guide for anyone that’s looking to promote their personal brand via social media. I would also recommend adding claimID to your list of social networks. If someone is searching for you, they can easily identify which pages actually belong to you versus another individual who has the same name as you.

    You have a lot of great content here. Keep up the awesome work and I’ll continue to follow you on Twitter.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie Gulley

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