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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Social Media: Time Waste or Career Boost?

There is no shortage of social media in today's rapidly growing high tech culture.  In my opinion, social media has two sides.  It can be an entertaining waste of time and it has the potential to boost your career.  Finding the balance between wasting time and adding real professional value can be tricky, especially for those who are just starting out.  Take a minute to analyze your social media situation by asking yourself the following questions.


1. What Is My Social Media Goal?
Defining success is key.  Are you trying to represent a brand?  Share useful information?  Get a celebrity to retweet your tweet?  Gain as many followers as possible?  Expand your professional network?  Keep up with friends & family?  Earn revenue?  You see where I'm going here?  Coming to a firm understanding of your end game gives you something to aim for.  I have found writing down my goals and keeping a running log from year to year helps me stay focused and it's starting to pay off.


2. What Social Media Accounts Can I Purge?
It's ok to let your Tumblr or Pinerest go dormant.  You can always come back to them someday in the future.  It's good to focus your attention on a few value adding sites rather than spread yourself too thin.  You may want to open an account just to reserve your preferred user name and possibly come back to it in a few years.  Once you know your social media goals you can cut back or cut out completely time spent on sites that don't seem to help.

3. Am I Working Hard Or Smart?
Utilize free web tools!  This is exciting because you can put technology to work for you.  There are many clever web tools and free apps available to maximize your social media efficiency.  TweetDeck is a more user friendly Twitter dashboard.  Paper.li and Google Alerts can be used to stay on top of industry trends by aggregating certain feeds and keywords that matter most to you.  If you're a heavy Facebook user, CheckOutTheLatest can be used to subscribe to YouTube channels through Facebook notifications.  Try using Buffer App to schedule future Tweets and Facebook posts so you can maintain a social media presence throughout the day while focusing on other things, like your day job.

Buffer App Tip:  Make sure the Facebook posts and Tweets you add to your queue remain authentic.  No one likes to follow a robot.

If you have never had the time, energy or motivation to grab the social media bull by the horns, I would highly recommend giving it a shot.  I started taking social media seriously in 2011 with the launch of my How-To YouTube Channel.  Since then I have greatly expanded my professional network, I've landed job interviews, monetized my content, received free stuff, hit a million video views (almost), appeared on various podcasts and some of my video footage even made it into an ABC World News broadcast.  Not too shabby for a guy working out of his basement.  Thanks for taking the time to subscribe.  Don't be afraid to jump in wherever you are and embrace the idea of incremental improvement.  You'll learn by doing and improve as time goes on.