We all enjoy social media platforms to share personal stories and create connections between family and friends, but it is also a great tool to promote yourself and your professional passions.

I worked with a friend over the summer who wanted to start creating an online reputation of being invested in the Social Work industry. She was a recent graduate of UNCG’s Social Work Program and headed to Phoenix for ongoing graduate studies. In essence, the you-know-what was hitting the fan and it was time to really take her passion within the industry seriously. Her goal was to create a public platform to express her interest and expertise within the field. And I told her there’s nothing better or more powerful than investing time online with the content that is available on a daily basis. Her thoughts and opinions are a powerful statement to others within the industry, so even if she’s spending time to review articles that have already been published, it provides a strong statement to others (ehem, potential employers included) as to what kind of character she is within the field and what’s important to her as a professional within the community.

We evaluated how she was using her current personal platforms and discussed which platforms might be best moving forward to create a professional reputation. I encouraged her to consider what kind of time commitment she had available to invest in developing her online persona – there’s nothing worse than heading to a platform and seeing it “dead in the water.” If there are no posts or engagement for a marked period of time, visitors will assume that you’re stagnant, covered in dust and just wasting online space.

We also discussed which platforms people are currently conversing Social Work topics – you want to be where the action is, where there are other people posting and sharing ideas. This makes for easy conversation starters within a platform.

Developing a social media platform and online reputation takes time. It isn’t hard, but it does take a consistent investment of your time and passion. People don’t really consider that idea on a personal level. Of course they want to share pictures and funny stories of their daily adventures; and more than likely, their friends will click “like” or comment because they commiserate with those kind of developments. It’s time to realize that same thing happens on a professional level as well – and it isn’t limited to Companies or Brands. You can control how you promote your skills and interests; you can engage with other like-minded professionals within your industry to enjoy similar networking experiences within your field!

Here are some steps I always discuss with clients (and friends) who are looking to create their personal Brand:

  • Consider your Industry: where is the action taking place?
  • Consider your Resources: what do you have time to engage in consistently?
  • Create a Platform: Don’t rush! Fill it with quality information.
  • Make the Platform fit your lifestyle: Consider how you best share information, if you’re always on the go, you may want to establish a solid connection to your Platform(s) via a Mobile App so that you can post as soon as thoughts hit you.
  • Share your Platform with existing Friends and Connections
  • Take time to Invest with like-minded platforms: don’t be afraid to start conversations with other professionals or like their posts
  • Set Reminders: sometimes life gets busy, it’s appropriate to remind yourself to check your platform(s) and its settings (things change: your expertise, your experience, your contact information…and let’s not forget that online platforms are always in a state of flux because Developers are always trying to make them better)
  • Ask for Help: Don’t give up because you’re stuck! Ask others for their thoughts and insights. You don’t have to use their recommendations, but they could provide insight into how you can make your platform stronger.

Taking the time to network is an important opportunity to connect, whether its in person or online. Social Media just gives us a great tool to use in order to get it done! If you want help creating your Personal Brand online, get in touch with me via jab’s plethora. I would love to see how we can expand your ability to create solid online connections.

If you’re interested in Social Work policy and news, follow my friend on her platforms:

All Things Social Work on Twitter: @allthingsswk
All Things Social Work on Linkedin: Calvetta Watlington