How to Turn Your Love of Social Media Into Marketable Skills

US News

Do you eat, breathe and sleep social media? Do you love keeping up with the latest news and changes? Why not capitalize on your interest and skills by turning them into a valuable asset? The opportunities are there. According to a recent study and infographic by Offerpop, a social marketing platform, job postings involving social media have grown more than 1300 percent since 2010. Now is the time to take initiative and rally your employer to embrace social media to help recruit, build loyal customers and create a memorable company brand. And what's in it for you? The potential for greater visibility, advancement, a new career path and maybe even more money in your paycheck.

Power to the people. Social media delivers greater influence to small companies with small budgets. Creating company awareness no longer requires a dedicated marketing team and millions of dollars for television advertisements. Instead, small companies have the same ability as Fortune 500 corporations to grow their reputation and corporate brand by empowering their employees to act as ambassadors and spokespeople. Social media is being used to answer questions, provide support and resolve issues. It is also a vehicle to share company announcements about new products and services and to distribute information. If your company hasn't jumped on the social media bandwagon, this is where you come in. Gather data to build a case for your company to embrace social media, chose leaders within your company who will likely support the ideas, and pitch it. They may ask you to help implement it.

Knowledge transfer. Training dollars dried up during the recession or are often nonexistent in smaller companies, but that doesn't mean your company can't pass along knowledge. You could suggest facilitating a lunch and learn to talk about the various social networking platforms. Be sure to include human resources or people responsible for establishing the social media policy for your company. Who knows where this may lead? Not only will your fellow employees feel good about learning new skills, but organizing a series of lunch-and-learns may give you greater exposure, demonstrate your expertise or even lead to greater opportunities.

Culture agent. In an attempt to compete in the war for talent, companies have begun encouraging their employees to share their work life on social networks. Erin Osterhaus, who researches and reviews HR systems for Software Advice, a software review website, suggests, "You can share events that your company has participated in, conferences you've attended, or even cool projects you're working on." When Osterhaus interviewed Anitra Collins, Twitter's recruiting programs officer, she learned that Twitter's employees are encouraged to share pictures and have, some featuring the company-sponsored yoga center and a Hack Week event showing off donuts and a mimosa bar. Sharing these photos and status updates gives a glimpse of what life is like at Twitter. Your company may not have these perks, but it certainly has a unique culture. Sharing "a day in the life" updates across social networks is a great recruitment strategy and only requires asking employees to share.

Employee and recruiter. Employee referral hiring has proven successful. In an article on referrals for The New York Times, Larry Nash, director of experienced and executive recruiting at Ernst & Young, is quoted as saying, "Our analysis shows referred hires perform better, stay longer and are quicker to integrate into our teams." Many companies have begun encouraging their employees to share job posts. The recruiting tools are in place to effortlessly share job postings and track referred applicants back to employees, making this an efficient win-win recruitment strategy. Companies reward employees for referrals with bonuses or other perks. You can help your employer research and implement an employee referral program that may one day earn you a referral bonus.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain.

Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.



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