People everywhere tell you that you should be on social media. To connect, to share, etc. – but how? Why? How can you get noticed by the right people? Read on for some tips.
Having a variety of social media accounts is pretty normal these days. But sharing quality content isn’t. What can you gain from sharing your internships, course projects, ventures, etc. on social media? A lot, it turns out. You can develop a strong personal brand – one that people know before even knowing you. You can get connected to industries and people of interest. Perhaps it can give you a leg up on future opportunities – because you may see them faster, or engage with people via social media who tell you about them. Moving to a new city for an internship or job? Social media can help you build relationships in places you may know no one.
In short, social media – and quality use of social media – helps you get noticed. Noticed by alumni, by industry experts, and by whoever else you want to get noticed by. So when thinking about your summer experiences, whether they be research, internships, DukeEngage, or other opportunities – consider the following tips for making you stand out.
- Know Yourself & Your Goals. Before even trying to develop a presence on social media, consider what matters to you. What do you want people to know about you? Who do you want to know you? Spend time brainstorming answers to these questions. Then, take a look at your last 10 posts on your different social media channels. Would people know these things about you based on your current profiles? If not, it’s time to get to work.
- Create a Plan. The biggest challenge people face when trying to be more intentional on social media is figuring out what to post. So, build a calendar! Write it wherever you will remember it – in your Outlook calendar, in your paper agenda, on your bathroom mirror – and then stick to it. Perhaps every Monday, you’re sharing an article from an industry-leading news source. On Fridays, you’re sharing something you’re doing over the weekend to expand your knowledge/skills. The biggest piece is to make sure that your calendar is aligned with the goals & values you brainstormed.
- Different Platforms Require Different Content. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all have the ability to sync your posts, avoid it. The languages of these platforms are different – and so are your audiences.You may share the same photo, but the caption may be different – perhaps your LinkedIn post, knowing that your followers are more technical, explains your Mechanical Engineering project in engineering terms; whereas the Facebook post, knowing that your followers are your friends & family, explains the project in terms that anyone could understand. This requires a little more work, but is worth it.
- Engage with Others. Being a lurker on social media is creepy. In your brainstorm, you should have identified people and companies that you want to know you. Be sure to follow them on their various channels, and then engage with them through those channels. If they share articles, repost ones that are particularly interesting to you, with commentary. Show that you have opinions. Ask people for feedback in your own posts. For instance, maybe on Wednesdays, your calendar has you showing a brief video of a project you’ve been working on. When you post it, end it with a question for your followers: “What is a project you’ve been working on recently? How does it change the world?”
- Photos & Videos are a Must. This is the best way to tell your story. And the best way to combine your personal and professional interests. Be sure that the photos and videos you share are action shots – people should actually be working/doing something, not just standing around with their arms around each other. If you hope that your quick Boomerang from your tour of Apple gets picked up by other accounts, consider lighting – film from places that show a clear view of your activity. Sometimes, taking photos can require some thinking ahead – can you do a before & after series for a summer project you’re doing? Don’t just think about it at the end of an experience – start documenting from the beginning.
- Create & Use Hashtags. This is one way that people may find you – especially in the Duke world. Investigate hashtags on Twitter and Instagram that people in your industries of interest are already using, and start to use them. Connect with others who are. If you are really trying to build your own brand, create your own hashtag. Just be sure that it isn’t being used somewhere else, and that it isn’t terribly long – especially for Twitter characters. Interested in being noticed by Duke I&E? Consider hashtags like #dukeinnovation, #innovationstartshere, #dukeiseverywhere, #dukesummer, and #pictureduke.
- Be Public. None of this matters if people can’t find you. You can use discretion if you don’t want all your accounts open to the public. But keep in mind – the more people can see about you before connecting, the easier & more often people will actually connect. For example, be sure your accounts have quality profile photos of you. Keep your information up to date with regard to jobs and universities in your networks. Use your actual name. That way, when someone you meet at a networking event tries to become your Facebook friend, they know they have the right person.
Now – go out and update your LinkedIn. And maybe remove that strange photo from LDOC on your Instagram page.