Using social media for professional development may sound absurd to some. However, there are plenty of ways to use social media to build upon your professional skills, knowledge and relationships.
Before you jump into your Twitter feed or start digging around LinkedIn, it’s important to take a more formal approach to social media learning. To get any real value from utilising social media, you first need to ask yourself three questions.
1. What do you want to learn?
Are you wanting to learn more about your industry? A good place to start is to follow industry leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter to see what they’re reading, what’s of interest to them, and what they’re thinking about. From this you can learn key hashtags to discover great resources. Also look into what your colleagues and peers are sharing on their accounts. This can help you find interesting and relevant blogs or podcasts that cover your field.
Think about what topic you want to learn about, and focus your reading in that area, so that you can develop specific expertise or opinions on topics, rather than gathering tiny bits of information about a wide range of subjects.
Social media can be effective in helping you pursue your own personal development because it can easily fit into daily life. It allows you to develop an ongoing learning process that will get you thinking in more creative ways.
Put some thought into when you have the time and mental energy to make the most of social media and think about what formats would work the best for you and your schedule. Once you’ve done that, use your networks to find the information that you want, in a format that suits you, whether it’s video, blogs, whitepapers, online forums or webinars.
By setting aside dedicated time, you will get much lot more out of your social media learning. Invest time in actually reading or listening to what sources you’ve discovered, rather than just skimming the latest headlines.
3. Who and what do you want to learn from?
Many people learn best when they are part of a learning community. This is where social media really shines, as it is all about being able to share your ideas with other people. It is a great way to engage in an active learning community, with people who want to hear others opinions and insights, as well as sharing their own.
There are lots of different platforms that host or allow you to form communities online. If you’re looking for a community of practice – a group of fellow professionals in your field – you can find those communities on LinkedIn or Facebook.
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Social media channels are a fantastic way of not only interacting directly with your customers and clients, but also developing your own personal skill set. With a little dedication and consideration of how you go about it, there is much to be learned from the content being shared and the active discussions online.
We’re always looking to share the latest industry news and topics relevant to the industry, so why not check us out on Twitter and LinkedIn – it might even fit the bill for your own social media education!
Founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs Roger Carson and Wayne Johnson, and operating from the UK, encompass is the creator of unique, innovative Know Your Customer (KYC) software for banking, finance, legal and accountancy that enable better, faster commercial decisions. The company is driven by the belief that the best decisions are made when people understand the full picture.
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