By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice
Whether you’re seeking a new position or want professional development, networking with others via social media is useful. Social media sites provide a great opportunity for you to build your network and engage with other industry professionals. Building a professional network can also help you grow your industry knowledge.
Professional Networking through Twitter
Growing a network through social media begins with setting up a professional-looking account, which shows you as competent and someone others would want to know. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool in developing your professional network; it is free and enables you to connect with others around the country and around the world.
For example, you can use Twitter to develop a professional network by connecting with others who have a large group of followers. You can stand out on Twitter by loading your Twitter feed with content that will spark the interest of others in a similar industry.
For instance, you could create tweets regarding recent trends and other information related to your industry. That strategy gives viewers the impression that you are actively participating in your industry’s current trends.
Another way to network on Twitter is to retweet a post by a colleague that resonates well with others within your industry. Tweets can be especially powerful if you retweet a message that positions a colleague in a positive light, such as when that person earned an award or promotion.
This selfless act is likely to be appreciated by someone who may be a hiring manager someday. In addition, it displays to other people on Twitter that you put others first by emphasizing their accomplishments instead of focusing on your own self-promotion.
Self-promotion on social media is often not as effective as building others up based on their accomplishments. Praising the accomplishments of others displays leadership and empathy, which are common management traits that can be exhibited through the medium of social media. Both Twitter and Instagram offer free professional accounts.
Related link: Higher Education Networking during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Connecting with Other Professionals through LinkedIn
Another powerful social media platform for building a professional network is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is expressly designed for this purpose; its users can follow or connect with nearly anyone around the world.
LinkedIn enables you to display your employment credentials, work history, education, professional references and publications on your LinkedIn profile. Frequently posting articles relevant to your industry or commenting on posted content from other people is also an effective way to build industry credibility as you’re building a professional network.
Unlike other social media platforms, it is more common for LinkedIn users to accept new connections and followers, probably because you can research the backgrounds of new connections before accepting them. With LinkedIn, you can develop a professional network by searching for new connections based on employment categories or job titles. LinkedIn also offers a direct message service that can be used to introduce yourself to new connections and share common professional interests.
Developing a Professional Network on Social Media Has Long-Term Advantages
Developing a professional network has long-term advantages because you can grow through learning new perspectives and ideas. A professional network can also be essential when you’re seeking a new job or for professional development.
Social media provides a great opportunity to connect with industry leaders and others who can share professional insights through their posts. These people can also prove to be valuable long-term contacts.