If you’re a Communications major of any sort, you’ll know how important having a positive and impactful social media presence is. Even if you’re not, it’s important to keep a professional online presence, especially in a world where any potential employee can look you up and everything you’ve done online in a simple Google search. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of everything you post online! But, don’t worry! It’s 2016—which means it’s a new year to make your social media great, unique and important! Here’s your 2016 social media guide!
Social media platforms you should be using
Nowadays, many companies are looking for people proficient in social media engagement. If you study public communications, showing that you can engage with and properly use various social media platforms is extremely important and starts with your personal accounts. Likewise, any Communications major should show their comfort and proficiency with social media because the likelihood that you’ll be using it at some point during your career is high. Here are the social media platforms you should be using in 2016:
I was shocked to hear from my 15 year old brother that no one his age really uses Facebook. I’m nearly 20 and I love Facebook. I feel like it has everything anyone could really want in social media platform. It’s great for multimedia interaction and keeping up with friends. However, it does straddle the line between professional and personal which can make your understanding of how to use it ambiguous. Nonetheless, I’d still advocate using it. If a potential employer is looking you up, the first thing they may find and look for is a Facebook account. Having one, even if you have privacy barriers up, shows that you’re involved in the social media world and you have nothing to hide. Make sure it’s updated—no pictures from when you were thirteen and if you have any additional accounts floating around, be sure to keep those in check!
If you’re a Communications major, showcasing your writing skills is important and Twitter can help you do just that. How? By showing that you have the ability to write coherently and concisely, while adhering to Twitter’s character limit. If you can write clear and engaging Tweets, you can surely meet any word limit in the same fashion. You can also use Twitter to promote your personal brand and/or other forms of media you put out. For example, Marina Watanabe uses her Twitter to both promote her videos and views.
Your resume should only, and always should be, one page long. Even though today many employers are accepting electronic resumes, you should never go beyond that one page limit. However, having a LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to create a longer, more in-depth resume. Moreover, it allows you to connect and interact with other professionals in your field. Even more, today more and more employers are looking for employees over LinkedIn, so it’s extremely beneficial to your future career path to being building up your LinkedIn profile and connections now.
Are you a photographer? Then use Instagram
You can either use Instagram for fun beach photos, or you can begin to build a personal brand! Many photographers are getting their starts on Instagram now and it’s the perfect platform to do so! It’s free and growing every day in popularity. If you’d like to begin establishing yourself as a photographer, I’d highly suggest making an Instagram exclusively for your photography, such as The District by Allie. Not only can you improve your social media engagement, you’ll start getting your name out there.
Are you a writer? Then use WordPress
WordPress is the perfect place to start a blog. I much prefer it over Tumblr as it has a great content management system and can be considered a bit more professional. If you’re a writer, start a blog now and make sure to set a regular schedule to update it. Starting a blog is another great way to begin building your personal brand. Check out this fashion blog for some inspiration.
Things you should not be posting to social media
Remember: things are never truly erased from the Internet. Even on Snapchat, just when you think your story will disappear in 24 hours, someone can easily screenshot your drunken escapades. However, it’s also okay to try and make it harder to find things that you don’t want people to. Have an embarrassing Twitter from when you were thirteen? Delete it. Got a few pictures on your Facebook you’d rather an employer not see? Take them down. Still, it’s best to avoid putting yourself in this position in the first place as, like I said, none of this is ever truly gone. Here’s what to avoid posting on social media.
Your night out
It may seem like a good idea to post a photo of your cute girl squad, but be wary of those red Solo cups in hand or any other sign that you may be intoxicated. Likewise for photos of you using an illicit drugs (or even smoking). You’re just having fun, right? No. While those pictures do not paint the whole picture that is you (straight A students like to party, too!), it still doesn’t look great for you. Employers will be looking at your social media accounts and ethical or not, they will be judging you. They don’t know you—they may assume this is how you always act and wonder how you’ll behave at company functions, even if you’d never dream of acting up in that sort of setting. Show that you’re professional by keeping your drunken photos (and stories!) to yourself.
There’s a place for “oversharing”
We all know someone that “overshares” on Facebook. Although Facebook may seem the appropriate place to post announcements, there’s always someone who shares more private information. While I’m all about people not being ashamed of everything that makes up them, I’d suggest avoiding sharing ultra-personal details on Facebook or Twitter and instead direct it towards a blog. Ditto for ultra-long political rants. Maintaining a personal blog (such as on WordPress) gives you space to express yourself while keeping your social media professional. Feel free to share links to your blog on social media though!
Certain satire (sometimes)
Let me be clear: you should not be making racist, ableist, sexist, etc., jokes ever. Not on social media and not in real life. However, be advised that satire can easily be misconstrued on social media. Even if you’re being satirical and sarcastic, meaning to make a point, text doesn’t always translate well and you can be misinterpreted. Unless you’re a well-known comedian with a history of satire, I’d say avoid it entirely or tread with caution. Do not be a bigot. Be smart.
For obvious reasons, just don’t.
Don’t forget about hashtags!
Whenever you can, wherever it’s appropriate–such as on Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress–you should be using hashtags! Why? They make your post trackable and allow you to enter different conversations and get yourself noticed. Every day, Twitter and Instagram, as well as other sites such as Tumblr (and somewhat Facebook via the trending news section), will show you which hashtags are trending. If they’re relevant to your personal brand, use those hashtags and enter the conversation!
Now, go out in 2016 and conquer on social media!