One of the largest criticisms of the millennial generation is their obsession with social media and its resulting distraction in the workplace. However, if millennials are wise, they can leverage their aptitude on social media to advance their careers.
I recently heard from Russ Fradin, CEO and Cofounder of Dynamic Signal, a communication platform company, about the five ways millennials can use social media to get ahead in the workplace.
He focused on the idea that millennials have everything to gain and little to lose when it comes to social media engagement. In fact, social media usage can be far more vital in getting, keeping, and finding jobs than any other focus.
Millennials are uniquely positioned to be able to leverage social media for their benefit, more so than any other generation that has come before.
“Millennials are the first digital native generation, or the first to grow up with the Internet, and are very comfortable using social channels to interact, make connections, share information and chime in on online conversations,” shared Fradin. “They are open to trying and adopting new technologies, so as new social outlets come to market this demographic are likely to try them out. If they like it they’ll tell their friends and colleagues, which can lead to more ways to socialize online.”
According to Fradin, the five areas for millennials to focus on are building long-term relationships, creating professional accounts, setting up social listening alerts, posting meaningful content, and being consistent.
Focus On Building Long-Term Relationships
“Your actions shouldn’t be self-serving,” noted Fradin. “Don’t overtly promote yourself or ask for anything, like a meeting or a referral. Instead, provide value to your connections. Deliver the kind of content can help them be better at their jobs or solve business problems.”
While millennials ushered in the era of the selfie, they would be wise to find opportunities to make their social interactions all about their connections. Bringing something helpful to your connections can result in them remembering how valuable you were next time they need someone for a new project or job.
Create Professional Social Media Accounts
“If you haven’t done so already, join LinkedIn and Twitter, and connect to as many like-minded people as possible,” said Fradin. “Join industry groups, where you can get involved in discussions and share your opinions. The more you speak up, the more you’ll create the perception of yourself as a “thought leader”, which is integral in developing your brand.”
Bottom line here is to make yourself visible on the right channels, with the right people. When your presence and content is seen consistently by others, you develop the ability to leverage those connections and experience for career moves.
Set Up Social Listening Alerts
“You can be automatically notified when certain words and phrases get mentioned online, such as your company, industry, and most importantly your name,” shared Fradin. “This allows you to quickly jump into the conversation and offer your insight and ideas.”
Keeping a pulse on what’s hot within your given field is not only trendy, it’s essential. Millennials are expected to be innovative and connected, so companies look to millennials to be up to date with the latest news in their area. Further, it doesn’t hurt to watch out for mentions of your name online to ensure the chatter is positive and complimentary.
Post Meaningful Content That Your Audience Will Want To Share
“The most important element in building your brand is content,” said Fradin. “Content can include articles, video, infographics, comments on blog posts, likes and tweets. All of this can be shared from other sources, but nothing boosts your brand more than content you create from scratch. You can produce any of the items I just mentioned, as well as maintain your own blog. A blog is great because it sets you up and as an expert in your field, and allows you to have an ongoing dialogue with your readership.”
Whether done as a side hustle or as a hobby, millennials that spend time developing and sharing unique content online in their area of focus quickly become go-to resources in that area. When pursuing a new career opportunity, your image is much stronger if you have established content on the web to review.
“There are a number of ways to construct your personal brand,” shared Fradin. “Do what makes sense for your specific job and personality. But whatever plan you devise, make sure to be consistent, which assures that your brand is always top of mind among your connections. People will immediately associate you with specific attributes, whether it’s seeing your latest LinkedIn update or clicking the play button on a video you just shared.”
Millennials are familiar with relevancy online and they know that if you aren’t showing up online, you’re quickly forgotten. The same is true with trying to leverage social media for career gains. Setting reminders to engage with LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis all go a long way in developing your network and area of expertise.
If you’re notorious for constantly focusing on your phone, make sure you’re implementing some of the practices outlined. Then when you’re questioned on your attention to social media, you can point to multiple outlets where you have furthered your networking, brand development, and depth of knowledge.
One last word of caution: don’t forget that content lives forever online, so be careful what topics and discussions you find yourself involved in. Reflecting a positive brand is of highest importance for future employers.
This article originates on Forbes.com