by Kirsten Hodgson
My recent interview with Rick Shera highlighted that social media is not just a profile raising/lead generation tool. It's also a great learning tool.
When I first started using LinkedIn and Twitter it was a bit of an experiment. I wasn't sure how social media could help me, my business or my clients but I quickly realised people were sharing some hugely valuable content in the professional services space and that I could learn a lot.
I now do about 80% of my professional development via social media – be it reading articles others have shared via LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc, attending webinars, downloading e-books/guides or asking questions of, and engaging with, others I've met via social media.
Like Rick, I now only subscribe to one or two email newsletters, getting the majority of content via my RSS feed (all in one place – hooray!) and I don't attend as many conferences/seminars as I used to because I can often keep up with them online and do my learning at times convenient to me.
This is one of the main reasons why I disagree with professional services firms blocking staff access to social media sites: They are such great sources of valuable content.
Provided you set clear guidelines, focus on what employees CAN do and how you want them to behave, I think you can give staff access. You can then deal with those who abuse this individually. If it's an endemic issue, perhaps you have a hiring issue or you haven't communicated clear guidelines (but I'm digressing – this is a post in itself).
How can you find those sharing quality information?
- ask around. Who do others recommend you follow in your areas of interest? You can ask your colleagues, other members of groups on LinkedIn, your Twitter followers etc.
- set up hashtags for your areas of interest on Twitter (take a look at www.hashtags.org to find out which # people use)
- use the 'Who to follow' function within Twitter and type in your areas of interest. You can then take a look at the content those suggested are sharing and determine if you want to follow them
- join relevant groups within LinkedIn and Facebook and follow those sharing interesting information or making valuable comments
- look at who others are following (on Twitter)
- check out The Matte Pad's blog post: 5 ways to find clients on Twitter (you can also use these tools to determine who to follow from a professional development perspective).
What other ways can you find those who are sharing quality content?
How, if at all, has social media helped you from a professional development perspective?
Latest posts by Kirsten Hodgson (see all)
- How to use social media to get more traditional opportunities - July 5, 2016
- A plea to all those using LinkedIn’s publishing platform - August 26, 2015
- Winning work and expanding an accounting practice - August 19, 2015