If you have not begun to use the power of social media in your career planning and development, you need to start. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have long been accepted as more than just ways to stay connected with friends and family. Today more than ever social networking sites are used as professional tools, and if you are not taking advantage of the opportunities to interact and engage, trust me, other job seekers are. With more companies utilizing social to interact with their customers and employees, sites like Instagram might be a way to make insta-career moves.
While most see Instagram as a site to simply post pictures of your latest vacation, the outfit you are wearing to the concert, or the delicious meal you ate downtown, the truth is Instagram is bigger than that. If used as a tool, Instagram harnesses the power to help you build your career. Now is the time to think insta-branding and insta-networking when you are on the app that most of us look at or use every day.
Check out these four tips to help you utilize Instagram in your career planning and development efforts.
Take the time to research the companies you are interested in through their website and other social media outlets. As you begin to dig you will most likely find out a lot about the company culture, values, and people. Now that you have learned a thing or two about the company it’s time to follow it and its key players on Instagram. Pay attention to the career-related information being posted and how you can use this to connect with the company. They might post about an upcoming event in your area, or the opening of a new store. They key is to keep your eyes open.
Keep in mind that someone you follow may follow you back or at least check out your Instagram profile. Make sure your profile reflects what you want potential employers to know about you. Your profile and pictures should reflect who you are as a person and the image you want to portray.
The key word in social media is “social.” Interaction with the companies and people you choose to follow is paramount. A great place to start is by asking a question in your comment. Direct the question at a consumer (Instagram follower of the company) or to the company itself to spark conversation. What this does is allow you to interact with an employee and possibly take this communication to another social platform such as LinkedIn to establish a relationship.
By beginning a conversation with consumers of the company it is very possible to establish yourself in the mind of the company and earn respect and appreciation. We don’t usually think of commenting or questioning as a way to show leadership skills, but in fact if done strategically you are doing just that. Plus, you never know who is paying attention.
Use Your Hashtags
As you begin to follow a company on Instagram, pay close attention to the hastags they use in their hashtag marketing. One of the best ways to get a company to possibly find its way to your account is to use the tags that they are already using. Begin to use these as a way to connect with the company, but don’t go overboard with the use of hashtags. Overusing hashtags can come off as distracting and annoying. As a rule of thumb, use no more than three hashtags—tops—in your post.
One thing to remember is that companies monitor hashtags to view the social conversation taking place about their company, company image, and brand. It might be a good idea to see what the company looks for in its employees through job postings and use those hashtags when you tag the company in a post.
Show Off a Little
Present yourself in the best way possible without coming off as cheesy, self-serving, or lame. Instagram truly lends itself to creative industries such as communications, fashion, and pretty much anything media. The platform is the most visual social platform in use today, so take full advantage of its 500 x 500 square space. Think of it as visual networking. Show the work that you are doing, and also show some of the people you’ve met in your target industry. Tell a visual story, be genuine, and develop relationships on Instagram to make insta-career moves.
Daron Pressley (@daronpressley) is an entrepreneur and former Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive who has been featured on outlets including Fox45 News, Black Enterprise magazine, and The Washington Post. Knowledgeable in marketing and branding, Pressley works with professional athletes, organizations, and individuals to develop strategies to create, build, and grow brands. As a speaker, Pressley has reached more than 20,000 students, and provides dynamic insights on leadership and branding via his website: DaronPressley.com