Making social media work for you

25 November 2018

This article was featured in the December 2018 / January 2019 issue of the magazine.

Julie Lock, innovation director for Mitrefinch Ltd, explains and provides guidance

Here’s a fun fact – three out of every four adults in the UK who use the Internet also use social media, making it a very powerful tool. But what does this mean to payroll and pensions professionals?

Used correctly, social media benefits professionals in several ways. You can:

  • build a professional presence and potentially enhance your career

  • become part of a global, virtual community of industry experts who are willing and able to assist fellow professionals with advice and guidance – and they freely share their own research 

  • join sector and industry groups enabling you to learn from your peers. 

Developing your social media presence helps you on a day-to-day basis and it also helps you build your career.


Where to start

You cannot build an effective online presence without understanding the benefits of doing so. From a professional standpoint, social media allows you to:

  • create a far-reaching network of peers and leaders in the profession

  • keep up-to-date on the latest ideas and trends in workforce management, finance, technology and legislation

  • learn how other organisations have implemented change such as legislation, technology and cultural change

  • announce your accomplishments and present yourself as a thought-leader in your profession

  • share your knowledge and provide information that enhances your industry.


Differences between platforms

Not every social media site is the same. Here’s a quick overview of the major sites and how professionals use them.

  • LinkedIn – A professional network where you can establish your credentials through a CV-style profile, post or share content relevant to your field, join topical group discussions and connect with others who work in your industry.

  • Facebook – A casual network where you can connect with peers and leaders on a more personal level and participate in groups focused on specific topics.

  • Twitter – A sounding board where you can post thoughts related to your profession, follow other professionals, and share links to pertinent content.

  • YouTube – A video-sharing site where you and other professionals can post clips of motivational speeches, product demonstrations, lectures, etc.

  • Instagram – A photo-sharing site where you and other professionals can post images of new products, trade show displays, convention gatherings, inspirational ideas, and more.

  • Tumblr – A blogging platform that allows you and other professionals to write essays, commentaries, and how-to guides focused on your industry.

  • Pinterest – An idea-sharing site where you and other professionals can share image collections, articles, and posts that you find interesting or inspirational.

If you’re not familiar with all these online social platforms, give yourself an education before you start participating.


Establish your presence

When you join a social media network you need to participate:

  • Like – Most social media sites allow you to like what another professional has posted. People find it gratifying to receive likes and they’ll appreciate you for providing positive feedback.

  • Follow back – When you are notified of a new follower who shares your professional interests, follow them in return. It’s an important step to making connections.

  • Comment – Write a response to what someone else has posted. It can be as simple as a note of thanks, or you can ask a question or make a respectful remark with the intent of starting a productive, positive conversation.

  • Post – Share articles, thoughts, images, videos, and relevant content from credible sources. You don’t have to share much or share often, but posting is how you ultimately create your professional image.

  • Hashtag – Hashtags is a method of indexing. You can search social media sites by hashtags and get a list of all posts that use a specific tag.


Remain professional

Behave in a respectful manner in all your social media encounters, just like you do when conversing with others face to face. Keep your posts, comments, and other interactions focused on productive conversations about your industry. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a personality or that you can’t disagree with someone. In fact, you want to show your personal side and well-reasoned ideas, because that helps make you more interesting and memorable. 

Just remember: you’re doing this for your career. Treat others as you would at your office or at a conference, and you’ll put yourself in a great position to benefit professionally from social media. 

Hope to see you soon on social media.