LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
GUEST POST BY CERISE CANON FROM CANON COMMUNICATIONS
Levelling the playing field through social media
I recall attending a job interview early in my career where the director of a PR firm asked how I stay abreast of the latest news and form industry relationships. I admitted that for the latest bite-sized breaking news and direct contact with industry leaders, I used Twitter. Like other early adopters, I preferred real-time updates and the ability to contribute to online discussions, rather than waiting for the next day’s print run. I did not get the job and was instead lectured on the importance of picking up the paper, and in retrospect, I can giggle at the lack of industry foresight.
What the PR director had misunderstood was information consumption had evolved beyond purely print, and that instead credible online sources had emerged. Online discussions were just as important as newspaper letters to the editor. In the previous decade, where a small powerful predominantly male group controlled what we consumed via print and TV outlets, the proliferation of online content and social media, meant that more people were able to have a voice and a platform.
Why is it important to understand information consumption trends and social media in 2020? Simply put, I honestly believe it provides more career opportunities and pathways for women.
Previously access to decision-makers, opportunity to contribute to community discussions, and breaking into the ranks of leadership, tended to be limited to those with existing connections or associations, sometimes referred to as ‘the good ol’ boys’ system. However today, social media provides a landscape where all can network effectively, reach a wide audience, establish their own brand, and emerge as industry thought leaders.
As a woman it is imperative you maximise the platform social media provides and put your best foot forward, to ultimately enhance your career and business opportunities.
High quality, regular and relevant content is key
Social media provides insight into your thinking, your work ethic, and your personal brand. If your social feed is lacklustre, unplanned, sporadic, inconsistent, or poorly executed, people will inadvertently believe it reflects your personal branding.
Be planned and be thoughtful. Put the time and effort into establishing a strong online presence. You may open yourself to opportunities for potential clients, employers, or partnerships. Do not let inconsistency get in the way of prospective leads.
Be a positive force
With the world of YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, (to name a few), came a wave of influencers. Regular people with no connections to traditional media, influencing the masses. Today, social media provides a space for all to showcase, sell, and make positive change.
There are of course new challenges being faced around misinformation, however ultimately social media provides a platform to share and raise awareness around important causes and affect change. Get involved by sharing information about causes you care about from reliable sources. Follow, like, and share pages that are leading the charge, and be genuine in your approach. Don’t jump onto something because it is trending – people will see straight through it and call you out.
Network, network, network
Add those people on LinkedIn you would usually be intimidated to approach IRL and highlight how competent you are by writing articles about industry trends to develop a powerful online presence. Follow organisations on social media whose ethos you connect with and comment, like, and share to start those online conversations and build those connections.
Only one in five C-suite leaders are women, and one in 25 is a woman of colour (Women in the Workplace 2018). So even today, it is imperative change is made across workplaces and women use social media, content creation, and networking to make waves in the industry, smash glass ceilings and get their names out there.
If I am ever asked again about my information consumption and industry connections, I’ll be confident in answering that social media is important in getting real-time information from a wide range of reliable sources and central to developing relationships with industry leaders.