Why professional social networking should be about showcasing, not showboating

How to use social networking the right way

Social networking is a great way to reach out and interact with your professional network, but make sure you’re doing it the right way.  and to boast but to influence!

 

Thanks to social media, business owners can post pretty much what they like, when they like, as often as they like. Which is great. In some ways it means that PR, promotion and advertising has never been so accessible, cheap or even free.

But there’s a downside. The side where time spent on professional and social networking sites can represent a trawl of vastly differing quality of content; from invaluable, insightful analysis, humorous and enjoyable light-hearted reads, through to articles of shameless self-promotion and frankly self-serving content which has only the writer, not the reader in its line of vision.

The more time I spend on social media, the more I spot this enormous variation in quality of input and a rise in what can only be described as advert listings thinly disguised as articles. You know the kind of post; ‘Here’s something I did the other day which was great. These are the reasons why I’m great. And in conclusion, well, I’m grrreat’. This style of content is kind of acceptable in an advertisement (although even then you should be talking more about your customer than you).

But on a social networking platform?

Read: The Danger in Using Social Media as Your Resume

Social Content should add value

When I read content on a social networking platform it’s to be informed, be challenged, be questioned, be entertained and even amused. I hope to leave the article more knowledgeable, positive and inspired than when I started reading.

Of course, we are all aware that channels like LinkedIn are promotional and networking opportunities. And showcasing one’s work, business and skills is a key part of that. But it’s about doing it in such a way that the reader doesn’t feel sold to (just like in real-life networking), and in line with the spirit of what social networks were set up to do. Doing it with subtlety and effort; not just taking your reader’s time without giving anything in return.

Otherwise we might as well all just sit and read through the Yellow Pages.

Read: 5 ways companies can attract and retain female talent

My tips to write an article that will engage, not alienate, your audience

…..whilst still showcasing your work.

 

social networking

1.       Choose a subject area in your profession that will be of interest to your audience and put a quirky or unusual spin on it. In other words, give your readers something to ponder, even explore an angle with which they may disagree. If it provokes a response and an outpouring of views, then you must have successfully engaged the reader.

2.      If you are promoting a successful project, put it into context and back up any claims or statements with evidence, statistics and testimonials. Demonstrate what you learnt from the experience and highlight any research as well as interesting or unexpected outcomes.

3.      Give something away. Not something material. But an insight. Some guidance. Handy hints and tips. Recommendations on best practice that show your willingness to share expertise, rather than just showing it off. Yes, perhaps there’s a small risk that people may use your advice to do the job themselves instead of approaching you to do it. But in my experience of writing articles myself and for clients, readers who are likely to do this will do so anyway. And at least you’ll have the great PR of having shown generosity of spirit and established credibility as a valuable resource. Then, what’s likely to happen is that the reader will recommend and remember you when the time comes that they do need support in your area of expertise. An article I wrote on behalf of a client recently, focused entirely on providing useful advice in their market, resulted in a lucrative contract for them. This approach works.

Read: Women need a stronger online professional presence

4.      Link a project or product that you wish to publicise to another article or news item. This will give your content a raison d’etre; a relevance and reason for highlighting your achievement, and do so in an interesting way. For example, if a news story is focused on health and safety in the building industry, there’s a perfect opportunity if you’re in this market to promote your own work and standards in response.

5.      Remember essay writing at school? Planning the structure? Well the same applies here. It should have a beginning, a middle and an end. An introduction, a body of content and a strong conclusion. Your article should have a purpose. In other words, approach it like a journalistic article, rather than like an ad.

6.      To help your blog be found by as wide and as relevant an audience as possible, ensure it is rich in relevant keywords. Weave them in skilfully though so that they aren’t repetitive or artificial but make the article a great read as well as help with your SEO.

Context matters

So don’t get me wrong. I’m all for businesses showcasing work and expertise. As a copy writer this is exactly what I do day in day out (and I ensure my clients come off sounding fabulous, honestly).

But there’s a time and a place, a context and a style for different types of content. And getting the right one will make for a more fulfilling social media experience for us all.

Want to build your online presence? Contact 3Plus now!

Originally posted on LinkedIn

3Plus, 3Plus online e-Gazine for professional women, Communication, Networking, Personal & Professional Development, Technology
Elizabeth Hibbert
Web | Email
I am an Oxford University educated, former advertising Client Services Director turned professional writer, marketer, small business owner and mum. This was not a coincidence; my corporate London based career morphed into a locally based one with the pitter patter of tiny feet. So what can I bring to you, a small business, who like me and many others is trying to get noticed, look different, become more successful? It goes without saying that I can ‘do words’ – even quite long ones if necessary. Three years of essay writing, ten years in advertising and a year of copywriting has seen to that. But I can also bring a deep understanding of business, having managed teams; delivered KPIs; met new business targets; run pitches and handled large client accounts. I have experience of not only copywriting, proposition and brand development but of bringing websites and multimedia campaigns to fruition. And finally I bring empathy. The ability to immerse myself in a client’s business sufficiently to understand their world; whether it be window cleaning or photography, graduate marketing or medical practice. I listen, I take an in depth brief and I ask questions. I research and I read. And as someone who understands only too well the impact words can make, I make every effort to ensure your business communications are strong, powerful, engaging and effective.

Leave a Reply

Upcoming events
Lunch & Learn To Be FABulous & Own your success
2017-09-12 @ 1:00 PM CEST - 2:00 PM CEST
LIVE AND ONLINE – in the comfort of your home or office, ,
Returner Roll Up – Developing resilience
2017-08-29 @ 10.00am - 11.00am
From the comfort of your home, ,
Returner Roll Up – Developing resilience
2017-09-05 @ 10.00am - 11.00am
From the comfort of your home, ,
Download and listen free podcasts
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

The importance of Hard Talk
Free Download

Taking Care of your COW
Free Download

How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace
Free Download

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info