Playing on Facebook can get you a job – I’m not talking about Farmville, though I’m sure there must be something for which those skills can be used. While Facebook is thought of by many as a way to pass the time, the social network has broad business applications if you use it right. And it’s only one of many networking, aggregating, blogging and mini-blogging sites out there, all of which can be used to pad your resume.
My young cousin is taking a college course entitled “Digital Literacies and Social Media.” After I stopped laughing (not at you, Margaret, and not at your class, but at how very old I am in my young years – when I was in school the height of technology was using an old Dreamweaver prototype to insert annoying music that played automatically on your own web page), I realized how mainstream social media is becoming in the business world. It’s been a part of our personal lives for years now, but corporations and businesses have a lot of red-tape to cut through before they can implement even the slightest change in ideas. And the use of social media is no slight change. It’s revolutionizing advertising, marketing and public relations. It’s affecting growth, popularity and income in the business world. And it’s something you can learn while you’re staying at home with your kids. And it’s something that makes you marketable, should you ever choose to go back to the working world.
Here is how your blog experience can help you in the workplace:
1) Writing skills – By blogging regularly, you keep your writing skills in tune with today’s style. You know what topics draw in readers. You know which tones keep their attention. You have, on your own accord, found an audience and grown it.
2) Networking – By creating a Facebook page and Twitter for your blog, you expand your readership. You allow for maximum readership at any given time, proving you know not only how to write a compelling piece, but that you also know how to spread the word through grassroot avenues. As more people join these pages, their friends and associates see links to your stuff, and they in turn may join, creating a spiral of popularity.
3) Marketing – You may have included giveaways on your blog, or participated in blogshares, or done a guest blog. All of these will increase your readership and are a form of marketing. You are reaching out to a foreign audience with your ‘product’ and enticing them back to your homebase, in the hopes of recruiting new audience members – new buyers, in terms of the business world. There are blog syndication services, and services allowing you to farm your blog out to local newspapers, aggregates and magazines, all increasing your readership and theirs in a symbiotic relationship.
4) Branding – If your blogging, you’ve had to come up with an idea, a tagline, and a way to draw readers or viewers in. I’m a writer, so my blog is all about writing, but there are those who showcase photography, or crafting, and some simply use the blogging platform to forward their original ideas. For instance, a friend of mine decided to start recycle old crayons. She created a Facebook page, told a few people about it, and within hours had more than 200 fans. Her idea was that strong. As you continue in your projects, you are strengthening your brand, something that businesses are striving to do, themselves, with a lot more notoriety and manpower. If you can build a brand from scratch, it makes you invaluable. It shows you’ve got the creativity and gumption to find ways to insert yourself into people’s lives. Branding is important. Branding is the reason you know The Pioneer Woman’s name.
5) Partnerships – if you review products or give them away, you are forging a partnership with the businesses that make those products. You are forming relationships, connecting the personal lives of your audience to the professional service of that particular business. You’ve become not just an end-point, but a link. Those businesses may eventually offer you advertising, and you will offer them a new audience they’d otherwise be unable to reach.
As businesses struggle to catch up to the personal lives of their consumers, they are looking for people who have honed these skills. This marks a change from the hireability of just a few years ago. Where previously, you would have been hardpressed to explain to an employer that while you stayed at home with your children for those few years, you were working on your ‘brand,’ in today’s world, that’s exactly what they want to hear. And it gives you an edge that those who have stayed in the business world do not have.
When I start applying for jobs, it’s true, I’ll have to tell them that I have not stacked or lined a news show in two years. And, yes, I’m afraid they’ll not take me back. But I’ll be able to show them well-rounded growth in an area that not many people have the opportunity to dip into, in an area that has become very desireable in the eyes of an employer.
I’ll be able to tell them that in addition to changing diapers and heating bottles, I wrote pieces that were picked up by such and such publications nationwide. I’ll be able to tell them that without previous name or reputation, I built a following of hundreds of people. I’ll be able to tell them that when I write about breakfast cereals, thousands of people take a peek. I’ll be able to offer them the network I have painstakingly built for myself, and more importantly, I’ll be able to offer them the skills I learned while building that network.
This is what they mean when they say mommy bloggers are taking over the world.
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