Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as job search and career development business analysis resources 14: thinking through your planned online professional image and message 5

This is my fourteenth installment to a series on the points of intersection between business intelligence and its gathering, and social media and related interactive online channels as sources of actionable information and insight, as they can be applied to job search and career development (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 397 and following for Parts 1-13.)

This is also my fifth installment to this series on the general topic of creating and maintaining an effective professional message about ourselves, that focuses on more effectively using specific online social media tools and channels. I began this progression of postings with:

1. Part 10 where I focused on professional online networking profiles as publically offered through sites such as LinkedIn,
2. Part 11 where I focused on participation in online professional groups,
3. Part 12 where I focused on blogging as a means of developing a more widespread positive professional reputation, and
4. Part 13 where I focused on the use of short messaging service tools such as Twitter, writing to or editing for professionally oriented wikis, and file sharing as means of further developing an online professional reputation.

I turn here in this fifth installment to that subseries, to consider video and related online social media channels, as they can be used to more effectively develop a compelling professional online presence. Then after finishing that portion of this overall discussion, I will discuss how social media channels can be used coordinately to tell a more effective message and to share it more widely. And to repeat a point noted at the end of Part 13 of this series, in anticipation of that, effectively making suites of online social media tools work for you, with all of the value-creating synergies that can create, can in and of itself become your defining marketing edge. As a part of that line of discussion, I will also delve into several other communications channels, adding them to this mix: online instant messaging, and skype and related audio/video telephony and conference calling. (Yes, I have yet to address Facebook in all of this, and will do so later in this series too, for its separate and even special issues and complexities, and certainly where it is used in the context of this series.) But I begin this to-address list with an at least brief discussion of YouTube and related video sharing social media channels and tools. And I begin that with a move from text-only, or text plus static image sharing (e.g. with images such as a professional online profile photo of oneself included), to offering rich media sight-and-sound video content.

The four earlier postings to this professional online image and message subseries, as briefly noted above, are all for the most part oriented in terms of written-text offerings. We are a visually oriented species, and web browsing and in fact most all of the internet is visually oriented, and even if that means text plus image or text plus video and sound. How can you best capture this increasingly vital dimension into your professional online presence, adding social media based video content as a part of your message? Let’s consider some specific video and related counterparts to the four sets of discussion areas that I have at least touched upon up to here, as noted above:

1. Text-oriented online professional profiles are important and I add expected by most of the people who you would want to reach with your online presence. And they will remain so through any foreseeable future, and if for no other reason because hiring managers, prospective clients and others routinely, automatically turn to sites such as LinkedIn as a first step of their due diligence research on other professionals. But video resumes, and video counterparts to a text-oriented professional online profile are becoming increasingly important too, and certainly for anyone who would in any significant way face the public in the types of work and career path opportunities that they would seek out, where ability to visually project a positive professional image is important.

But I start addressing this form of message sharing option in more detail with an important caveat. If you chose to offer a video version of a professionally oriented message about yourself, and about what you do and offer, you have to make sure that your video displays the same high level of professionalism in its production value that you wish to convey about yourself. If you post a video about yourself that is filmed and edited in an amateurish manner, that is what this message will tell any viewer about you too (see Video Resumes from the Recipient’s Perspective.) And in anticipation of discussion to come on coordinately using different social media channels together to offer a single overall message, I strongly recommend that if you decide to add video content to your overall professional social media message, use it to augment and complement a more general text profile that you also offer and keep up to date. Do not simply seek to replace a LinkedIn or other standard format text profile with a comprehensive message video counterpart. Develop and offer video files that each individually explicitly focuses in on one specific issue and message element that you would wish to effectively share, to supplement and flesh out what you offer in your basic, more standard LinkedIn or other more general professional online profile. And go video and do that where video content would offer you the most value by more effectively and compellingly conveying that single focused message that you would display through it in each of your specific video offerings.

2. Conduct your due diligence research to identify the text-oriented and related online professional groups that would be appropriate for you as you advance your developing career. And identify in the same way, any professional groups in your geographic area and within convenient travel distance, whose members more routinely come together to meet in person (e.g. local chapters of appropriate professional organizations and specialty groups within them.) But what do you do if these groups that you would most want and need to join and participate in, are all out of your local area and effectively out of reach geographically? Are there any such groups that meet at least in part via conference call and other more remote-supportive means? And as a matter of using social media to develop a stronger, more effective online professional reputation, are there groups that you would want to join and participate in that would value and support a member-initiated effort to help them develop this type of capability and reach? There are a number of free services that can be tapped into in setting up a trial first online conference or meeting, and that can be tapped into repeatedly if a first try works well enough to merit learning curve refinement and a next such online event. Helping a group or organization that is significantly important to you, to connect in its members more effectively would make you stand out as a leading member of that group, and in ways that could pay off long-term.
3. Video blogging can be a very useful approach and particularly where direct visual demonstrations would offer enhanced value. And as a perhaps extreme example of what this type of content sharing can lead to, I cite the literally world famous Khan Academy. This video tutorial program began as a small localized effort to offer tutoring assistance on the part of one person: Salman Khan, who has become famous from it. Once again, production value is important, but even more important than that, you want any video content that you offer as part of your professional image and message to be engaging and interesting – and ideally enough so that your viewers will share word of it and help you with viral marketing.
4. And I turn with that, to my fourth, catch-all entry from above. And my point here is one that I have made before, but that I repeat again with a video focus. Look for new and emerging social media channels and tools, and participate in them when your research of your target audience, and your analysis of your own message would suggest that pursuing them would contribute to your developing a more effective ongoing overall professional online presence.

And with that as a starting point observation, I explicitly come to the issues of using a perhaps diverse range of social media channels and tools together coordinately, in building an online professional message and image that you can use to more effectively market your skills and advance your career. I am going to turn to that complex of issues in my next series installment, and as promised above will delve into use of instant messaging and skype, and related audio/video calling and conference calling as a part of that. Then I will turn to consider what others share about us online and through social media. And with that in place, I will finally discuss Facebook and how it fits into this, and as both a positive and as a negative and both for what we ourselves post and for what others post that involves us.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

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