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Leverage Social Media to Strengthen Your Professional Identity

Leverage Social Media to Strengthen Your Professional Identity

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By Megan Hines
Online Career Tips Contributor

When social media first hit the scene, the main focus was to provide users with a way to connect with friends and family. Today, social media has grown immensely. Some of its most beneficial features are providing brands with a new way to reach target audiences, creating stronger brand identities and reputations, and growing online communities.

At American Public University System (APUS), we’ve worked in recent months to take our social media efforts to the next level through the use of the APUS Social Influencer Program. This new initiative allows APUS to expand its public reach, while simultaneously helping to strengthen the professional brands of its participants. By utilizing LinkedIn’s platform Elevate, it is easier for our faculty and staff to share APUS-related content on their personal social networks.

As we work to expand this program, we thought it would be a great idea to share how our participants use this program. If you would like to join the Social Influencer Program, there are several ways to strengthen your professional identity and make the most of being a social influencer.

Polish Up Your Social Media Profiles

Whether you’re participating in our program or not, having a strong social media profile is essential for working professionals. Pay close attention to your profile photos, summaries and experience. They should be consistent across all platforms and give people a solid understanding of who you are.

Know Your Social Networks

Knowledge is power, even when it comes to growing your social networks. As a program participant, you can subscribe to eight topic areas within Elevate:

  • Advice for Students
  • APUS & Higher Education Updates
  • Business
  • Health Sciences
  • Insight From Our Experts
  • Security & Global Studies
  • STEM
  • Your Career

While participants are free to subscribe to all of these topic areas, and social influencers can share any piece of content they find, it’s important to take your networks into account when you decide what to share. Pay close attention to the shares that get the most engagements – you will better understand what the people in your networks want to see.

Also, remember to individualize your shares by adjusting the introduction copy to fit your voice and understanding of the article you’re recommending. This practice helps your shares to have a personalized feel, which in turn builds your unique professional identity.

Extend Your Participation by Suggesting Articles

The Elevate platform allows participants to not only share curated content, but also to suggest articles that fall within one or more of our eight topic areas. This way, you can be seen as a curator and you’ll enhance your credibility among fellow program participants. Click the “share” button in the upper right corner of the platform to suggest fresh content.

If you’re not a Social Influencer Program participant, you can also share articles across your social media networks to speak to the audiences you’ve already cultivated. If all else fails, find articles that resonate with a wide audience. Pieces that focus on career tips are a great place to start.

Share the Love by Growing Your Social Networks

The ultimate goal of this program – and sharing as an individual on social media in general – is growing networks and reaching more people. It’s important for aspiring social influencers to know that they can grow their networks through shares, but also by engaging with others on social networks.

Spend time each week engaging with your connections on social media through comments, likes or retweets. This habit builds their reach, but benefits your social identity as well.

Since inception, our Social Influencer Program has proven to be successful and we’re excited to see it continue to make an impact. If you’re an APUS staff or faculty member and you wish to learn more about becoming an APUS Social Influencer, email our Social Media team now.

About the Author

Megan Hines is a Social Media Coordinator at American Public University System, where she engages with students across various university social media channels. She has more than three years of social media and marketing experience and enjoys working in the ever-changing field of social media. Megan graduated cum laude from West Virginia University with a B.S. in broadcast news and a minor in communications.

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