According to a recent study by wearesocial.net, a multi-national digital marketing agency, there are more than 3 billion active internet users globally and more than 2 billion (29 percent of the total internet users) are active on social media with a 12 percent year-on-year growth.
India has approximately 243 million of those internet users. Of that amount, 118 million are active social media accounts (with a 31 percent growth since January 2014).
Although Facebook tops the chart of the most used social media platforms, with 8 percent of users, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn are not far behind with 7, 6 and 5 percent respectively.
These figures certainly look impressive, but the question is, how can you capitalize on the power of social media to advance your career? Simply being on your favorite social media platform is not going to have any impact on your career, unless you actually utilize its advantages.
A common misconception among IT professionals is, that they have to invest a significant amount of time and effort to harness social media benefits. That is simply not true! There are a number of social media tools currently available which can make your job easier. They come with a zero learning curve and require the investment of only a couple of minutes to perform social media activities.
To help you avoid the tediousness of finding the social media tool that addresses your needs, I’ve come up with a few that have actually been tested and proven. For convenience, I’ve divided the various tools into four categories – learning, networking, personal brand building and, most importantly, analysis. These are all important parameters required to advance your career.
So, let’s take a look at them.
Today, we are highly dependent on search engines for information and, we come across a lot of useful information online during our search. Often we forget to save the information and find we need to refer back to it later on. This is where bookmarking comes in.
Delicious is a social bookmarking tool that lets you bookmark content you find on the web to easily read later on. This app comes with an automatic content recommendation feature (based on your interest level), tags, a tag bundle option to bookmark subject-specific contents (for example, you can create separate tags for Salesforce and ITIL related information), additional filters, and an option to create a network by following your friends or people you’re interested in.
Delicious also offers browser plug-ins, for Firefox and Chrome, and iOS and Android apps for mobile and tablet users.
The main advantage and convenience of delicious is that it maintains all of your bookmarks in one list and offers easy access. However, as with many searches, the sites that show up may not be very useful, correct or even related – use care in selecting your web sources.
This is my favorite social media learning tool. Swayy integrates content recommendation with a social sharing feature. The best part is that you don’t need to preset areas of interest; Swayy automatically recommends your preferred content and sets the interest level. An easy to understand analytics dashboard also shows how others react to what you post and can help you determine the most effective content to grow your community.
Wondering how it sets your interest level? Swayy does it by analyzing the content you shared on your social profile when you originally registered. Additionally, you can add to your interest level for content recommendations.
Like Delicious, Swayy also offers browser plug-ins and is free to start, but with limited features.
Rapportive is an innovative email add-on tool that conveniently displays social media information about your contacts in your inbox. It primarily works with Gmail and, once the extension is installed, all you need to do is key in the email address of your target contact in Gmail and it fetches all the online identities of the person, be it on Twitter, LinkedIn, a personal website or Skype, and display these right on the sidebar of your inbox in a clean and easy to understand format, as in this screen shot:
However, one minor inconvenience is that the extension needs to be installed on each browser separately and it is limited to Gmail only, which is a bit of a setback.
Formerly known as Twtrland, Klear is a great tool to network on Twitter. Their motto is “We Measure the Social Web,” and they aren’t kidding! Klear helps you market smarter. It offers several filters, such as influential power (measured by the number of followers, amplification, outreach and activity), locations, skills, gender and age, which you can use to find the people you want to plug into your network.
The best part is that you can see who your target person or influencer has talked with recently, and even identifies and recommends influencers who are more relevant.
Also, once you visit someone’s profile, Klear can display all the necessary information, such as how influential the person is based on activity, popularity, responsiveness, network break-down analytics, mutual followers, conversations, demographic information and even their latest tweets.
Klear is free to start with, but to access the advanced features, which broadens your search, and full profile view, you need to pay $99 USD (approximately 6,300 ₹) per month to subscribe to their basic plan.
Personal Brand Building
To build your personal brand on social media, the first thing you need to do is establish yourself as a thought leader. If someone knows you are a credible source for specific information, they will prefer to follow and network with you. So, the first and foremost thing you should do is share useful, interesting and informative content about the domain from which you want to attract people.
Buffer makes this job easy. It comes with some great features, such as automatic custom scheduling; content recommendation; analytics; Feedly, Pocket and followerwonk integration; retweet scheduling and browser extension.
But simply scheduling posts is not enough. According to a recent report, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets and images and photos are the most important tactic in optimizing social media posts.
You should also focus on sharing compelling images, and for that Buffer recently introduced a new feature called Pablo. This feature allows you to easily create engaging social media – definitely worth checking out.
Sharing and learning on social media is one thing, but if you don’t know what’s trending and what people are talking about, you’ll be at risk of falling behind. Moreover, by monitoring social media, you can find what people are searching for in your domain and if you know the answer, you can tell them what they want to know and become a thought leader in no time.
Mention is a pretty handy social monitoring tool for this. Some refer to it as “Google alerts on steroids.” Mention helps you monitor millions of sources in 42 languages across all social networks in real-time. You can connect social accounts to alerts and react without leaving the application. You can also like, share, retweet mentions and even send them via email to your Buffer account for posting later on.
Also, it offers analytics to get a report of your mentions by language and source and over a selected period of time with the report easily exported to a PDF file or in XLS, TSV and CSV formats.
The starter plan costs 29 EUR (approximately 2,000 ₹) per month with a fourteen-day free trial.
While Mention is a great tool to find anything on social media, another handy tool is Boardreader. This tool also allows you to monitor conversations on forums and boards by a popular internet category, topic or simply by custom search.
If you don’t analyze your performance, you’ll never know if you’re on the right path, so analytics is crucial. Although all the social media tools mentioned above come with analytics, using them individually for a specific social media platform can be daunting.
This is where SumAll comes in, a dedicated all-in-one social media analytics and dashboard. Some of the useful features which it offers are insights based on your content, audience analysis, ability to connect unlimited social accounts, beautiful presentation-ready reports, and a single dashboard for all analytics.
SumAll recently added a new feature called Audience Boost to help users build a following on Instagram. This feature works on the premise that it’s easy to sell to existing customers. Audience Boost converts followers of your email lists into your Instagram audience where they can engage your content daily.
SumAll’s basic plan is free, but if you want to get reports and insights (and you will) it will cost you between $59 and $99 USD (approximately 3,750 to 6,300 ₹). Audience Boost’s costs range from $99 USD (6,300 ₹) per month for a basic package and up to $399 USD (approximately 25,000 ₹) per month. The good news is that there is a fourteen-day free trial.
So, which social media tool do you use? Have you tested any of the aforementioned tools? Do you have any tools to add to the list? Please share your comments and experiences below and thanks for reading!