Another in Our Continuing Series on Consulting After 50

If Facebook were a place, it would be the pub you go to on Friday nights. LinkedIn would be a job interview room. Twitter would be your local coffee shop. So says Nature. The best way to energize your business profile is through social media but the speed of change and number of apps available probably make you dizzy. Facebook is okay connect with friends and family, but who needs the others, right?

Well, you need them! Social media and digital marketing grow more powerful by the day. With a little preparation, your on-line presence can promote your skills and expertise even before you launch your business. Start small, be persistent, and you’ll soon be joining the digital dance floor.

Some suggestions:

 

Get a Password Manager

I used to be frustrated by the constant demand for passwords—I couldn’t find them, I couldn’t remember them, they didn’t work. Sometimes it was enough to make me quit right there. My solution was a good password manager program. Now when I access a new site, I enter my password once and it’s automatically recorded in the password file. When I return, the manager just asks for my Master Password—always the same—and it does the rest. It’s inexpensive and a huge time saver.

Think Like a Scientist

A lot of information on social media has a hard-core business feel. The focus is on sales. As a program evaluator and qualitative researcher who just happens to run her own business, I find the approach jarring. When I was researching this blog, the best information was under the search terms LinkedIn for Scientists and Twitter for Scientists. Topics like collaboration, finding partners and funders, and sharing work are addressed. Start your exploration there.

LinkedIn is Not Your Rolodex

You probably have had a LinkedIn account for ages but when was the last time you actually looked at it? If you’re not visiting it several times a week, you’re using it for the wrong reasons. It’s not a virtual rolodex or place to park your résumé. It’s a showcase for your most important skills, accomplishments, and goals. It’s a powerful tool for visibility, networking, and leads. Try these ideas:

·         Optimize your profile using your elevator pitch for key words and phrases.

·         Make sure your profile is accessible to everyone by checking your public profile settings.

·         Be sociable. Respond to conversations, comments, and likes.

·         Join interest groups. Craft your comments to reflect your expertise, using your skills inventory as a guide.

·         Share relevant resources. Add your own content. Be generous.

Twitter is Not Just a Conversation

Twitter can help you build a network of people whose interests align with your own. It is more powerful than any physical networking session. Keep up with breakthrough thinking, access new resources, share highlights from your own work, follow trending ideas at conferences, and connect with like-minded people and organizations, expanding your network with theirs. Some tips:

·           With only 140 characters to play with, a tweet forces you to be brief, cogent, and readable. You can start conversations by asking good questions.

·           When you share interesting websites and resources, use a URL-shortener like https://bitly.com/ to save characters. Add photos and videos to heighten interest.

·           Tag another person using @[username].

·           Be present. Engage a few times every week.

·           Post at peak times when more people will see your tweet (e.g., morning and late afternoon).

·           Use #[hashtag topic] to compile tweets. Search for “trending hashtags in [your field].”

·           It may be about what you can share with your followers, but you will be amazed at the benefits that return to you.

So get busy and start using these tools. See how they impact your profile, presence, and productivity. You too can be a dancing queen!

Next up: Handling Risk

Photo: i-Stock

Resources

http://blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2017/08/23/social-media-as-a-scientist-a-very-quick-guide/

http://blog.impactstory.org/7-tips-to-supercharge-your-academic-linkedin-profile/

https://lternet.edu/twitter-for-scientists/

 

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