The social networking platforms are defined as websites where the user can create a profile and build a personal network of contacts that connect to other users. As its name describes it, social networking sites are often used for social interactions, but they can also be an effective way to connect professionally and academically. It does not matter where you are in your career; Social networks can help you. For example: Do you want to connect with colleagues, promote your small business, or coordinate with other students? Social networks can be a valuable tool to help you achieve your goals.
How can social networks help you?
Professions – There are specific websites of networks of work contacts. For example, visit LinkedIn.com. These sites have specific activities for professional development, such as finding old colleagues, showing their employment history and researching a company. You can also join online communities from specific industrial sectors.
Self-employment – For independent contractors or those who own a business, having a profile on a social networking website is an excellent way to promote and make contacts with customers. In several websites, there are recommendations where people can make comments about a company or a contractor. Try to read the “Terms and Conditions of Use” of the website first and follow the guidelines related to the promotional material, in order to know what level of support is acceptable for your contact network profile.
Academic training – The world has never been so connected through technology, and the period when you are studying is a good time to use that available technology and create your network of contacts. A group (selected people who share data) of a social media channel can become a quick way to conduct research or publish information for a class. The period you spend studying is also a good opportunity to extend your network of contacts by the time you graduate and want to start looking for a job. Create a professional profile in advance and recommend your friends and teachers to follow their example in order to start establishing their networks of contacts.
What data should you include in your profile?
When you select the information you want in your profile, think about who will see it. The information you post in the profile will be your image and, despite the privacy settings of the website, remember that everything you post on the internet will be potentially available to the world.
Steps to follow
Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings of the site – There are many who are on Facebook and use profile picture guard feature of Facebook but post all their other pictures with “Anyone can see” setting. It makes you look stupid and ignorant at the same time.
Consider keeping your professional profiles separate from social ones – If you are an accountant, do not use this with your name on the social media. You would not want everyone to identify you as just an accountant and nothing more.
Use good judgment – Think about what you would like a potential employer or client to see when looking for your profile on the internet. See choose wisely what you want to share publicly and what should be limited to your friends or family only.
Types of content
Every time you post on social networks, use your best judgment and keep the content aligned with your goal. One way to check how your profile looks online is to check your name on the internet and see what results appear. In some social networking sites, the search will not show the content of your profile if your privacy settings are activated, but could display the content and images of your friends, which may have links to your profile or show content you have sent, so it’s always a good idea to do a basic search and see what information is available.
Types of profiles
Professionals – These profiles are for potential employers or clients to see their professional information updated and their best professional data. When creating information about a business, make sure it is useful and attractive to customers. Spend some time and plan the impression you want on people through your online profile. Do not exaggerate your capabilities or worse leave everything blank for others to assume what you do. Exaggeration may also backfire so try to be simple, straight and easy in your approach.
Social – These profiles are less formal than those you would place primarily in a professional site, but remember that these sites match your network of professional contacts, so never post something you do not want your employer or clients to see. Though you can post some informal or light humor content, getting into heated political debates may not fetch any good results.
Academics – Using a profile for a class is a way to share information with other students or to coordinate efforts and study sessions. These connections are not only valuable during your academic preparation, but can benefit you later in your career, especially when many of the students you interact with frequently will begin similar careers. This type of profile is similar to the first one in many aspects with some additions such as you can post some authoritative content here.
Learn about the website
Trends in the websites that are popular change quickly, but it is very likely that the data published in a profile will not be deleted even if you stop using it. Make sure you understand the rules of websites regarding the deletion or modification of an account before creating a profile and adding information. Research each social networking site before you sign up and see what others are saying about it. Ask specifically about the degree of privacy you can expect, the number of emails you will receive and how to modify or delete an account. Also, consider any security incident that may have occurred (such as those related to hackers) and what you could do to safeguard your data.