In the past, the only way to enhance your professional reputation on-line was to endure the hassle and time commitment of maintaining a professional blog. The advent of on-line social networking groups, specific subject forums, and question/answer websites provides a new avenue for amplifying your on-line professional presence, which can advance your job search. These websites range from LinkedIn groups, to specific expertise related community forums, to Question and Answer websites like Aardvark and Quora. Here are some specific ways you can use social media groups to build your professional reputation.
Book Review. If you have recently read a book related to your profession, write a summary of the book either in the forum or in an on-line review tool like Amazon that can be posted to the forum. Create a thoughtful review that is at least several paragraphs. Try to emphasize the inherent controversy associated with the book’s thesis, and conclude the review with a thought provoking question that may generate a response from others in your profession.
New Product Review. If a major player in your industry just came out with a new product, try to be one of the first to review it. Provide a balanced review of the product’s benefits, but once again, aim to stimulate conversation.
Commentary on Industry Event. If there has been a major industry event, such as an acquisition or partnership between major players, try to be among the first to share the news. Any insights you can add behind the news will help to build your reputation for expertise in your field. Once again, responding quickly to the news is important, because far more people will be apt to read your post when the news is current and fresh.
Share an educational event. If you are aware of an industry seminar or an on-line webinar, share it with other group members. LinkedIn now has an easy calendar/event sharing application. By sharing the information, you help to establish yourself as an expert in your field, while contributing something of value to the group. It’s always good to give to other members instead of just asking them to help you.
Achieve expert status. Many groups, such as the SAP Community Network or the Verizon Wireless Community award designations of distinction to valuable contributors. For example, Verizon has levels of expertise ranging from contributor to Copper contributor to Blue Ribbon contributor. Although it takes longevity to accomplish the highest level, even new contributors can achieve acclaim and highlighted contributions based on strength of a weeks’ activity, such as being voted by the community as “most helpful member”, “Most noteworthy quote” or “post of the week”.
Any reputation building activity, whether in person or on-line, takes time. However, a carefully thought out strategy to create relevant content demonstrating your professional expertise can prove invaluable in your career growth and job search.