10 Mistakes Every Professional Expat Makes With Their Social Media
The conversation of social media is still quite new to many and the thought of where to start, what not to do and how to achieve success is a common topic. In this article we will look at 10 mistakes every professional expat makes with their social media and how you can can avoid them.
1. Not using social media
The first major mistake that so many professionals make is that they’re simply not using social media. Having a social media account is not the same as ‘owning’ it, you really need to be utilising your social media accounts on a regular basis and fully understanding what you want you want to achieve, how each platform can help you to a achieve that and how you can go about achieving it.
Concentrate on fewer social media platforms to start with, we recommend LinkedIn and Twitter, and begin to understand how to use these in your professional networking endeavours and job search. If you haven’t created an account on both of these platforms already then make an effort to start today. Update your profiles as well as you can, even if it takes you an hour a day for a week, and start updating your status’ with your professional activity.
2. Not completing your profiles
The trick is to constantly update your profile. Every week that goes by you’re likely to have created new experiences or achieved great new goals in your working environment, so be sure to add these as you go along to your LinkedIn profile – you don’t want to document everything that you do, but major milestones and career achievements are certainly things you want to add.
Be sure to use a professional-looking profile picture of yourself on all of your social platforms. If you find a new picture that you like then update them and keep your profiles looking ‘fresh’. Choose an image that clearly shows your face, looks professional and if possible, shows you with a smile on your face and being an enthusiastic individual – during your job search you want to catch the attention of recruiters and headhunters.
3. Forgetting to check your privacy settings
One of the most overlooked aspects of social media is the privacy settings assigned to a persons account. Not everything that you do or add to your profile is for public consumption, especially on platforms such as Facebook where conversations are oftentimes of a more personal and relaxed nature and professional networking is rarely seen. Be sure to check the privacy settings that you current have and choose the option to view your profile as a friend and non-connection. Understanding what is visible to the general public (i.e. people who are not connected with you on that profile) is essential in ensuring that private information and pictures aren’t accessible – it might seem harmless to have a few holiday photos on there for all to see, but would you want your future employer seeing those?
Periodically check your privacy settings and be sure to keep private information, pictures and conversations to platforms such as Facebook and leave more professional conversations for LinkedIn and Twitter.
4. Not updating your status
A common feature between social platforms is the status feature. Updating your status allows your connections to read your thoughts and updates via their own feed and this keeps people up-to-date with your activity and puts you at the forefront of their mind. If, for example, you’re looking for a new job, then a status update about your job search might be read by a colleague or other connection who knows of an available position that you would suit perfectly. Even if a connection can’t help you out straight away, by updating your status in this way you’re cementing the idea in their mind so that if and when they do come across a position or meet a recruiter in your field then they’ll be sure to pass your information over.
Keep your updates short and sweet, relevant and interesting. There’s no harm in the occasional funny picture or link to a bizarre news story (I like to share these types of updates on the last day of the working week) – but don’t overdo it. Keep the majority of your updates about your industry, your job search and anything that can help your professional networking endeavours. Remember also that most of the social media platforms can utilise hashtags (#) allowing you to categorise a topic and location.
5. Not understanding the advanced search features
Again, most of the social media platforms of today have them, so start using them! You can search for individuals by name, company, location and job title, you can also search for advertised jobs, trending topics, news stories and even status updates. LinkedIn is currently updating its search features, so we’ll be sure to update you on what those changes are and how they affect you and your job search in due course. However, their current features allow you to dive deep into the ‘LinkedIn stratosphere’ and pick out people and conversations of interest.
Use the search features of your social platforms to connect with like-minded professionals, find topics to discuss via your status update and increase your professional networking base.
6. Not networking with industry professionals or recruiters
So you’re looking to make new industry contacts or find a new job, but are you actively looking for these individuals via your social media platforms? Are you fully utilising your social media platforms’ features such as status updates, feeds, inbox messaging and search? The answer is most likely ‘no’. Or at least you’re not ticking all of those boxes. Don’t be scared to test out of the features available to you. Explore them, learn how to use them and how they can really help you and then start taking advantage of them. You’ll be surprised how effective they are!
Set yourself a goal, such as connecting with one new individual every week for a month and see where that gets you. You may find that in your industry and / or location, one platform is better than the other, and you might also find that one feature within that platform provides you with the best results, so utilise that platform and feature and go forward from there.
7. Not telling people exactly what you’re looking for during your networking activities and job search
Honesty is the best policy. A phrase that we all know, but do we really live by it? Of course depending on your situation and what you’re looking for there might be a limit to what you want to make public knowledge during your networking activities and job search. If you’re working for an employer who you don’t want to tell that you’re looking to leave, then you must be careful about what you say via your social platforms. However, there are ways around this.
Networking in general is a great way of meeting new people and moving your career forward. If you’re looking to make a career move but don’t want to tell everyone then you can start to network with people who can help you without it being obvious that you’re looking to relocate. If you happen to visiting a networking event, industry-specific meet-up or even a different country or city, then tell people of your plans and request anyone else who is going to contact you to arrange a meeting. This way you can connect with individuals within your industry and start building a larger networking base – you never know who you’re going to meet or what they can do for your job search.
8. Not periodically checking your networks
Ignoring your social media platforms is a bit like ignoring a phone call or an email. Whilst you might not have any messages or notifications to read you are potentially loosing connections and allowing any connections to fade away. It is essential in this day and age where new technologies are taking over from the more traditional email and phone calls to nurture your connections and follow-up leads via your social networks. Be sure to log into your accounts at least once per week to not only check for any messages or notifications and reply to those, but also to start using the platforms and build your connections, nurture your leads and grow your engaged following.
9. Not understanding the benefits of social media at networking events
Social media should not stay at home. You should be utilising your social media networks wherever in the world you are. In fact, I would recommend increasing your activity before, during and after any professional related trips, meetings or events as this will help you to arrange meetings, make new connections and nurture / follow-up on these new connections and leads.
Not only does social media replace the business card conversation of yesterday, but it allows you to connect with people during an event and make connections like never before. Say you’re at a networking meeting in Dubai and you log onto Twitter to share your thoughts on a speaker you just listened to, by including the events hashtag, such as #Dubaifinancemeetup you will be exposing yourself to anyone else using and tracking that hashtag. Therefore, you might just get a Tweet-back from another professional at the event commenting on your update – from here you can arrange to meet with this person or just continue a like-minded conversation and nurture this potential lead.
10. Not taking advantage of location settings or hashtags when travelling, networking or working abroad
As mentioned above, hashtags will allow you to open yourself up to more like-minded industry professionals, and they are of particular use when at a specific event or in a particular location. A hashtag allows you to categorise your Tweet and join in a conversation with many others.
Location settings are similar in ways to hashtags as they categorise your update by a specific location. However, not all platforms include this feature, so utilising the hashtag for this purpose may be the only option. Whilst there are obvious advantages to sharing your location one advantage is to demonstrate to your connections of your goings-on. Simply by telling people that you’re in a different location can help to build a professional brand for yourself that is more international. It will help to create the idea that you’re a well travelled and experienced professional, which is especially important if you’re looking to relocate to a new country.
Whilst you might be thinking the worst mistake is saying the wrong thing or not fully understanding what information to share with your connections, the worst mistake to make is infact to say nothing at all. As long as you keep your updates short and relevant to your professional goals then you’re well on your way to increasing your networking and job search success.
Aim to make a new connection every week and refine the ways in which you do this, that way you can start to build traction and build an engaged following of professionals.
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