10 Social Media Graduation Tips
While you may be a digital native millennial who grew up connected, you should still check how your social media presence looks to others beyond your family and friends circles.
Unlike the brief, party-filled years of college, social media and email are forever. Assume that anything posted on social media is public (regardless of your privacy settings.)
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel’s offensive Stanford emails were published on Valleywag for all to see, including his mother and future bride. (Sorry we won’t publish them due to the language used.)
Even if you’re not seeking mega investments for your latest tech startup, consider modifying your partying habits. It’s just not appealing. Dan Zarrella’s research supports this. He found that #Drunk is the 3rd least liked Instagram hashtag.
10 Social Media Graduation Tips
To get your social media presence on track to support your future success, here are 10 social media graduation tips. (Here’s how businesses look at social media for 2014 and beyond.)
1. Position yourself for the future.
While you may think that this sounds trite, the objective is to spend some time setting a course for your life so that you find it fulfilling.
Yes—I appreciate the need to make money but there’s more to life than that. You need goals that are larger than earning X amount of dollars. The objective is to give meaning to what you do.
The University of Chicago psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi puts this in terms of Flow, the state of being energized and focused towards a goal. It’s the opposite of sitting in front of a television or video game.
Therefore set measurable goals for every aspect of your life including your professional career, family, health, romance, religion and other key elements of importance to you.
Use this as your social media compass. Measure whether an activity will lead you to a desired result for your long-term personal goals.
2. Google yourself.
Go ahead. Find out what Google thinks is important about you (or not).
Know that prospective employers, business partners and even romantic interests will check you out before they contact you.
Find out what’s out there because what you don’t know can hurt you.
Bear in mind that social signals can influence your Google results.
Don’t like what you see? Consider how you want to be viewed and work to build a new profile. (BTW—Starting a blog can help you achieve this objective.)
3. Check out the competition.
This is the social media equivalent of assessing the other guys scoping out the same hot chick as you are in a bar.
Examine how your peers appear on social media. Use a critical eye to see the good, the bad and the ugly from an employer’s point of view. This is very different from being the cool kid on campus.
Also check out potential employers and employees. Use them as role models for what businesses seek.
4. Dress for success.
You only have 1 chance to make a first impression.
Get a professional make-over because grooming and manners count. This refers to your photographs as well as the text and links on your social media profiles.
Remember business people follow non-business social media platforms just like you do.
5. Show your accomplishments.
Graduation is a good time to assess what you’ve done to-date. It helps give you insights as to what you like and what you don’t like.
Include internships, volunteer work and awards. You never know what will peak an interviewer’s interest.
Here’s where making sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date matters.
6. Examine the company you keep.
This applies to social media as well as real life.
Who are your connections? What type of impression do they make on social media? How do they reflect on you and does this have an impact on your goals?
7. Stay connected.
Just because you’re moving onto a new phase of your life doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep in touch with the people you know.
Go beyond the passive viewing of your friends’ newsfeeds. Take the time to communicate with them. Write an email or talk to them in real time.
8. Keep learning.
Select the information that you want and need on a regular basis.
Plan your diet of necessary information that you get daily. (Check out our social media resource list.)
9. Pay it forward.
Helping others without expecting anything in return is the watchword of social media.
The goal is to become known as a go-to expert on a topic.
10. Be careful.
While people are expected to be themselves on social media, not everything is what it appears. You may not be able to see people’s connections and what takes place face-to-face.
Now people expect you to act like a grownup. Just because everyone is doing something, doesn’t mean that you should participate.
Understand the difference between being a digital native and being social media savvy.
Graduation represents a step forward towards your future. Make sure that your social media past isn’t holding you back.
What other social media graduation tips would you add to this list and why?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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