As an EMBA candidate, how can you best align all of the social media platforms to work for you?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Xing, MySpace... the list of social media platforms seems to be expanding by the day. For many Executive MBA candidates the deluge of messages, posts, tweets and pins, in addition to everyday emails could be somewhat overwhelming. But as that old saying goes "if you can beat ‘em, join ‘em!"
Chris Dalton, head of personal development at Henley Business School, says the one thing which characterises speculation on the future role of social media is that it is just that, speculative. “No-one really knows exactly how things will go or where the next big thing will come from," Dalton says. "Having said that, I'd say the success and growth of social media so far (and the buzz about its future) is facilitated by the ease with which people can share content with others and, as long as social media platforms continue to allow or encourage this, it's a trend set to continue."Connecting with content
This sharing of content is what can be of most value for the Executive MBA candidate, particularly as they look to research different programs and connect with fellow candidates, students and EMBA alum. Adrian Barrett, director of specialist business education PR consultancy, Bluesky PR says by scanning the various social media channels and looking for discussions or comments to offer an opinion on, candidates can learn from engaging with relevant individuals.
"LinkedIn is obviously a hugely popular platform for demonstrating what professional experience and skills you have," says Barrett. "It's a great way to network with large, disparate groups with whom you should engage but are unlikely to be able to get into a room together.
"Blogging can be a great tool for increasing your online profile. It allows you to become the media, get your views across and can help you to become a valued voice and thought leader in your marketplace. From a corporate point of view, Facebook can be a great way to build engaged communities. One of our clients set up a Facebook page and within three months saw a 152% increase in website activity. It may be seen as a primarily personal site, but the fact is Facebook now caters specifically to businesses and is the biggest social network in the world."Linking across platforms
While having a presence on each of the different social media platforms is becoming increasingly important for EMBA candidates and others alike, maintaining this presence is even more so.
"A consequence for applicants to business schools is that a very broadly inter-connected online presence is now possible with minimal effort," says Dalton. "The flip-side of this reach is that if you get it wrong, it's wrong everywhere."
"My advice to candidates is: first, be careful what they say online in one place, especially if they have linked one site or feed to another. Facebook is probably best kept apart from LinkedIn and Twitter. Second, as in all networking, work out what you have to offer before you expect to get back. LinkedIn, for example, has lots of ways a person can begin to build a reputation as a source or an expert before they ever start using their network to generate leads, or contacts, that will be of use to them in their development or career.
"Third, to begin to realise the true potential of social media for branding (in business and management) start a blog. It's relatively easy to do (harder to keep it going), but allows you to showcase your interests and talents and hone your communication skills."