Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Career Growth

Harnessing the Power of Social Media
Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Jaslyin Qiyu, Founder, Mad About Marketing Consulting

The presence of TikTok has given rise to a whole new platform for social influencers or “KOLs,” which stands for “Key Opinion Leaders”, especially in the B2C marketing world.

The concept of KOLs actually started in the B2B marketing world, where senior business and often c-suite leaders have their own unique and forward-looking perspectives and opinions about topics related to their profession or industry. Content is largely found on LinkedIn and, increasingly, YouTube as well through podcasts or vodcasts.

In the B2C world, the content is more entertainment and, at most, infotainment, thus more of influencing their followers in terms of lifestyle decisions socially rather than really breaking new ground in terms of more macro-level issues. Content is largely found on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and sometimes Facebook reels.

Regardless of B2B or B2C, tapping into social media for personal and career growth is a long-term play. Popularity usually doesn’t happen overnight unless something controversial, usually negative, is shared. But that is hard to sustain for long, and you have to keep outdoing your original content to keep yourself on the radar of the highly watched or followed content producers out there.

It is also telling if the content produced by the respective authors are close to their heart or genuinely what they support or believe in versus if they are purely doing it for commercial purposes to make a quick buck. This is especially true of B2C social content influencers.

Although they would pretty much have their lives on display for all to see, most are part and parcel of their daily lives, thus presenting a more convincing disposition for their followers. Some might make additional effort to plan out their content in a flow over a period of time to space things out and keep things fresh, especially if they are under the guidance of a social influencer agency, which has in itself seem a huge boom in the market.

Often, these influencers have their own day jobs, which can make them more relatable to the everyday person on the street but with that additional x-factor to make them stand out amongst the ‘ordinary’ to reach ‘aspirational’ status.

For B2B influencers, they pretty much are doing this as a core part of their day job and often, only job as it helps with getting new clients for their companies, expanding their company’s existing portfolio of services sold to clients and getting new job opportunities from head-hunters.

Traditionally, many folks on LinkedIn see it as a platform purely for job searching and thus, they often also commit the mistake of becoming more active on the platform only when the time comes for them to start searching.

Everyone needs to know and understand the theory of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to social content and networking on these platforms, be it LinkedIn, Tik Tok, IG etc.

Consistency is key to gradually grow your network and influence with credible content that speaks to your own unique experience and viewpoints. It is not about showing off; at least not if you genuinely believe in what you are putting out there and sharing it for your network to benefit from it. Sharing is caring.

People don’t just start paying attention to you as well overnight and don’t just share about what you or your company are selling. Instead, think about what you are personally passionate about and start forming opinions about why it matters. This can be related to your field of expertise; it can be based on your personal learning journey at that point of time. It can also be causes that you care about.

I understand that when it comes to LinkedIn, some companies can be sticky about employees sharing opinions about things in general; story for another day but I would actually advise companies to empower their employees in the right way for their own employer branding.

Some tips for folks who wish to share but are unsure, especially on LinkedIn to help with your own career growth, and expand your network and opportunities available:

Is this sharing something that will be helpful for your network and their network to know?

Will it cause unnecessary pain, conflict or worse, tensions in race, religion, creed and culture?

Is it harmful to someone’s reputation if you share it? If so, do you have facts to back it and how is it helpful for others to know about this?

Will it inspire others to learn and benefit from the learning in a positive way?

Imagine if your parents, siblings, partner or best friend or someone you profoundly respect and care about were to read it; would it be something they would be proud or supportive of?

If you answer “Yes” to 2. and 3., then you should think twice about what you’re about to share and see if there’s a way to position it differently if the topic is still something you care deeply about.

I personally think that while one man’s meat is another man’s poison, what we put out there in terms of content should always serve to help others positively and to be as objective as possible.

If it does more harm than good in putting the content out there, then you should think twice about the repercussions on yourself and the people you care about.

Last but not least, always remember that you have to enjoy putting out the content and there are many different ways to do it, especially now on LinkedIn:

Comment on posts others in your network have shared to demonstrate your own viewpoints and expertise

Contribute to community articles and topics

Share articles or even posts of your own with a perspective as to why it matters to you

Share about events or programs you have attended or come across

Share about professional and personal projects you have contributed to and how they have helped you and others around you

About the Author

Jaslyin Qiyu has over 20 years of B2B and B2C brand, marketing and communications regional experience in various industries, Jaslyin specializes in brand building, client experience management, content strategy, multi-channel performance marketing, and mobile engagement and optimization strategies. She has managed regional marketing teams across Asia Pacific, including Citibank, EY, JLL, Kantar, Credit Suisse and State Street, driving marketing transformation, building go-to-market strategies and setting up high performing marketing teams from ground-up.