Most people use social media, many on a daily basis. We may use it for social means, but social media’s power extends far beyond this. It can be invaluable for learning, self-promotion and career enhancement. Social media liaison Jamie-Lee Apollis gives us insight of how to fully harness the potential of social media.  

Connect with the right people

Social media can easily connect you with people from around the world.

“This offers the perfect opportunity to make contact with a wide variety of people – from those who have similar interests to you, to people working in your career of interest, experts in your field and influencers,” says Apollis.

Most people won’t mind you sending them a personal message over social media, and are often willing to give you advice or help you if they can.

“Just approach them politely and tell them the reasons for your message. For example, perhaps you would like to ask them about the best path to take towards a specific career, or for some more insight into something you saw them post online. From my experience, they are often very open to conversation,” Apollis says.

Post eye-catching content

Many of us have hundreds of ‘friends’ on social media. These may be a combination of people we know personally, and people that we may have connected with only through social media platforms.

“The content that you post can reach hundreds, maybe thousands of people,” says Apollis. “When you post meaningful and interesting content on your personal pages, you create a positive impression on these people – including some who could be valuable contacts for you in the future. On several occasions, I’ve had people commenting on my posts or messaging me about them, and we’ve gone on to develop fruitful relationships.”

On the other side of the coin, posting negative content can have a devastating impact on your reputation.

“We’ve all seen examples of people who’ve been disgraced or had their reputations ruined through something as small as one social media post. So you should always be very careful about what you’re putting out there,” Apollis warns.

Join relevant groups

Facebook in particular has become a forum for like-minded people to come together in online groups. There are thousands of these groups on Facebook, covering every conceivable field and topic.

“These groups are great places to discuss issues and share interesting content with people who have similar interests to you,” says Apollis. “Many of these groups also have some highly experienced or influential members, who often post very meaningful content. This provides for great learning opportunities, and can also be a very useful way of starting to network with people who could help you reach your goals.”

Stay up to date on trends

Social media has also become a useful channel for staying up to date on the latest trends within your field of interest.

“Things move so fast these days that it has become essential to keep your knowledge and skills updated. Social media has become a popular platform for sharing breaking news and information about new developments,” says Apolis.

Promote yourself

Small businesses or start-up entrepreneurs can’t afford to spend millions of rand on advertising and marketing. Social media channels offer the perfect platform for advertising products or services completely for free.

“You can post your products or services on Facebook groups, or share photographs from your business activities on your personal Facebook page or on Instagram. I have personally seen many people who have managed to kickstart their businesses this way, and today they are running profitable businesses,” says Apolis.

Also, don’t be scared to promote yourself by posting about any notable achievements in your life.

A last tip from Apollis:

“Don’t be shy to post about an award you won, or about passing your college studies with distinction. You have every right to be proud of your achievements, and you should do everything you can to get your name out there and increase your exposure to possible opportunities.”

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