Why IT Leaders Should Use Social Media

By Marilyn Shuck

IAUG Customer Community Advocate

Through the years, I’ve noticed that many IT professionals shy away from social media. While there are lots of reasons for tuning out, I believe that an effective social media strategy can go a long way to advancing your professional goals and your personal career.

For me, being active on social media has offered some amazing benefits, from building my network to finding answers to questions I face every day in my work.  It’s so much easier and more effective than making one phone call after another to my contacts!

For many years – and especially since the pandemic – I have been an active user of social media. I post frequently and enjoy interacting with my IAUG friends on Twitter and LinkedIn. I find that social media helps me stay connected to my peers who use Avaya solutions, reminds IAUG members about our activities, and educates Avaya about our amazing user group.

I also know from experience that posting updates on my professional activities gives me greater visibility in the technology world. For example, I got a lot of great feedback after posting on LinkedIn about my new role as IAUG customer community advocate.  It gave everyone a heads-up and will build that sense of connection when I reach out to others.

If you’re thinking about boosting your social media presence this year, here are a few other things I have learned on my own personal journey.

• Think about your goals. Do you want to build your professional network? Reach out to potential hires? Position yourself as a thought leader? The types of content you post should be aligned with what you want to achieve personally and professionally.

• Be thoughtful. Be clear about your intentions when you post. Consider what you want to share beforehand and don’t just post to post.

• Understand the different sites. For me, LinkedIn is the go-to site for professional networking. The focus here is building and strengthening your work-related connections – and we can all use more of those! Another benefit is that you can think about your content and post at any convenient time. While I like posting on Twitter before, during and after IAUG events, I have to be careful about interrupting my work flow. If I’m focusing on a project, the last thing I want to do is break my concentration. Instagram is fine for photos once in a while, but YouTube is probably not ideal. After all, a video of you typing on a keyboard isn’t very exciting! Finally, I’ve found that Facebook is better for personal content, so I rarely post work-related items here.

• Respond to other posts. It’s not enough to post your own content. You should be an active “listener,” respond to your colleagues, and participate in online conversations. If you’re active in IAUG, keep track of what other members and your Avaya connections are doing. If someone you know wins an award or gets a new job, send along your congratulations. Remember that when you repost with a comment, it helps the other person and you get noticed.

• Promote IAUG activities. I use Twitter and LinkedIn to promote our chapter meetings, and that serves as a reminder to our members, and helps get the word out to Avaya customers who may not be familiar with IAUG.  I always see an uptick in inquiries about our meetings and reposts from my network of connections, so there is a lot of value in this approach.

• Be patient. Unlike TV or online news, it takes time for your social media activities to generate results.  And don’t worry about measuring what happens after every post. Instead, look back from time to time on which posts got the most responses and how others may have helped you advance your goals.

Remember that social media is here to stay, and take advantage of this powerful tool!

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