A few weeks ago I talked about how to attract work and opportunities to you, instead of constantly begging for your next job. One of the biggest elements of attracting work to you is using social media to share the most interesting aspects of your life and work and show people “what you do and how well you do it.” Of course, it is worth taking some time to think about what you might share on your social media feeds that contribute to this end goal. Here are a few ideas to get you started in sharing the right kind of information.
- Short stories of your best work successes
These aren’t some self-serving stories about how you saved the day, although some may have that aspect about them. Rather you are sharing these stories to help anyone else who might be experiencing the same, or similar, issues in their own line of work. Depending on your work, this could be a post on how you solved a particular tricky accounting problem, solved a difficult problem with a hidden leak (if you are a plumber), made a car run better (if you are a mechanic) or created a great computer system that saved your company tens of thousands of dollars (or even a few.) As you can see, it doesn’t matter what type of work you do. We all have interesting stories to tell that can be tremendously useful to others. By sharing these stories, you not only show people the quality of the work you do, you also help them solve their own, similar problems. This alone could lead to a job or consulting offer down the road. I know it has worked this way for me.
- What you are reading, watching, listening
Sometimes, the media we are consuming can be very illuminating about our lives and our work. For myself, I make a point of sharing what books I am reading, what blogs I subscribe to, what videos I am watching and the podcasts I listen to as I drive about on business and pleasure. I think that if people pay attention to these items, they can get a very clear idea about where my interests lie and it can do the same for you. Again, the best thing about this is that you are just sharing what you find interesting, not trying to promote yourself, so it is a nice, soft pedal, way of accomplishing the goal of letting people know you — and your work — better.
- Your thoughts on work, industry and life issues
While you need to be careful about descending to the level of a “rant” in these posts, working out your job issues in writing can help you discover solutions to solve the problem. Don’t name names, but rather address the deeper issues involved. Create “what if” scenarios of what you might do to solve the problem if you had the power. Tell people how you personally dealt with a problem, even if you couldn’t change the situation yourself. You can, and should, also talk about issues in your industry and how you would address the problem. Again, thinking through these issues helps you in so many ways. You might hit upon a solution that no one has discovered yet. You might find a solution to your own work issues and finally, you might help someone else who is dealing with the same issues. Often people are helped just by knowing that they are not alone in their problems. If you can offer some commiseration with their issues, and perhaps even a helpful solution, you can develop a great reputation as a problem solver that can lead to large opportunities down the road.
- Cool things that you discover in your life and work, online and offline
Finally, one of the greatest pieces of information that you can offer is the cool things that you discover both online and in your own life. As I read through my RSS feeds each day, I often find 2-3 items that are worth sharing with others. This often results in many ‘Thank you” messages being returned as well as people sharing the information with their readers/followers/Facebook friends.
These items can take several forms. Some might simply be for entertainment (witness all the silly cat pictures out there). Some might be useful answers to business problems such as new smartphone apps, new web services and new online publications. These items also can, and should, be elements from your own life. Interesting pictures you have taken, neat templates you created, interesting architecture, music, writing and friends you encounter in your daily travels. Don’t limit yourself to just sharing things that others create. Create your own “neat things” to share, too.
If you are feeling a bit stuck on what to share via your social media feeds, I hope that these ideas will spur you into action. I believe that it is through softer sharing, rather than blatant promotion, that we can have the biggest impact on our work and careers. Rather than jumping up and down shouting “look at me, look at me”, you can have much more impact instead saying, “Look at this cool thing I found. It helped me and it might help you, too!” That is certainly how I approach my own use of social media and I believe it can be very effective in building the career you deserve.