By MICHAEL POH
With all the publicity on employees getting fired over wall posts on Facebook, the last thing you’d expect to hear from the popular social networking site is that it can help boost your career.
True enough, posting about work on Facebook can bring about negative and serious consequences to office politics. We should always be tactful when it comes to voicing out our opinions and grievances in a public domain.
Nevertheless, the opposite can also happen.
Social networking sites like Facebook can give you an edge in your career if you use it to connect with co-workers and clients the proper way. Of course, it very much depends on your office culture and other factors.
Here are some suggestions on how you can potentially make good use of social media to impress your colleagues, bosses and clients to possibly land you in a better position at work.
‘Friend’ people from work
Many of us avoid adding our bosses, colleagues or clients into our social network for fear that they would have access to our personal posts and details.
We do that because we want to have some level of privacy to be able to post with greater ease, especially when it comes to our gripes about work.
Well, you can see that Facebook is a double-edged sword. You’ll need to grant access to people from your work before you can use it for posts that’ll impress them.
If you play the game well, then your career might get that boost it is lacking from your other efforts at work. If you post things that might inadvertently offend people from work, your chances are greatly reduced.
Moral of the story? Be mindful of what you post.
Forming the connections with your bosses, colleagues and clients is just the first step. If you’re worried about them having access to your personal photo albums and status updates, don’t worry.
Facebook now has more personalised and in-depth privacy settings that enable users to decide who can see what posts.
Connect with work-life balance
As much as you want people from work to think that you are a workaholic who is passionate about what you do, it is not advisable to post everything about work.
Or worse, to post everything positive about it, and about how much you really love your work. It would come across as trying too hard.
In any case, you will definitely need to connect with them on a personal level. Show them what you really are as a person on social media. Show them that you do have a life outside of work.
Some of us believe that work and personal life are separate entities, and that the way we relate to people at work may be vastly different from our relationships with our friends and family.
However, I would think that our personality in these two aspects should be quite aligned so that people would not see you as someone with a split, or inconsistent personality.
This, I believe, is an important ingredient for trust to occur.
As with all other social networking platforms, Facebook gives you the perfect opportunity to expand your network.
Co-workers from other departments may not know you on a personal level in the office, but this relationship can deepen when you add them onto your social network. You can then attempt to chat, play games, share interesting posts and explore hobbies via mutual “likes”.
What do all these translate to?
Firstly, you would improve your social life in the office. Having more friends around would probably keep you going when times get tough.
After all, these friends are also colleagues who work in the same organisation, so there’s no one else better who would understand what you may be facing.
Secondly, networking gets you to places. It is particularly important to build strong networks within the organisation if you’re climbing the ladder. Why?
One of the most crucial reasons is that it will get you noticed. If you can establish friendships with at least one person from each department of your company, these friends may recommend you to their bosses should they need a replacement.
Another significant reason is that knowing someone from every department would likely make your work easier if inter-departmental collaboration is needed.
You need to keep in contact to maintain any relationship. The advantage that Facebook has over offline networking is that you get updates from friends, be it in the form of status updates or photo uploads.
This makes it easier to keep yourself informed on what’s going on in their lives before you interact with them.
Essentially, getting updates from your bosses, colleagues and clients keeps you in the know on what they’re up to before they actually tell you in person.
Sometimes, they may not even want to tell you directly. You can then seize the opportunity to respond to what they have just posted and make a lasting impression.
At other times, this simply provides you the information to initiate a conversation and maintain the relationship with them on a regular basis.
For instance, if your client posted something regarding his/her need to engage some services, you can step in and offer help by either offering your expertise or just recommending some people you know.
That way, you cultivate the trust and can even expect your client to consult you in the near future. You can even add in potential clients to your network so that you can actually “recruit” them when their posts give out signs that they might require your services.
Showcasing your expertise
Whatever industry you are in, you can use social media as a platform to demonstrate your passion, vision and opinions you may have about your work.
Given that you’ve added a range of work contacts, it is now more convenient and appropriate to give your two cents’ worth and project yourself as a competent leader, team player or a reliable consultant, whichever you think would bring you closer to your career goals.
Take note though, that there’s a fine line between showcasing and being a show-off. The key is to not let others perceive you as trying too hard.
Post something about what you think or feel about your work every now and then, but don’t let all your posts revolve around it.
Remember to stay humble and not post things that make you sound like you are right and others are wrong.
Just let your posts be as neutral as possible and keep an open mind about whatever comments that may come in. All the best!
Michael Poh is a freelance blogger and regular contributor for Hongkiat.com. He believes in the power of the written word to influence and inspire. An enthusiastic video gamer, Michael is also actively engaged in various physical activities in his spare time. Drop us a line or two in the comment box below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Career Advice articles, click here.
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.