November 22, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Young Professionals and Social Media: What’s Your Personal ROI Strategy?

Young Professionals and Social Media: What’s Your Personal ROI Strategy?

When I put together a puzzle, I use the picture on the front to show me what I’ll end up with. In the realm of ever-evolving social media, predicting the final outcome isn’t that easy. While geeks across the country and nation are engaging in endless discussions to determine the definition and practical uses of social media, young professionals are effortlessly situated to take advantage of–and even help shape–these developing tools and techniques. The challenge continues in this space to figure out just what social media is, how to use the new tools to make a profit, or whether social media is connecting or disconnecting us. Young professionals, a majority of whom are considered digital natives, are in a position to not only contribute to the conversation, but to use social media to its fullest degree.
Most of us are just beginning our careers as social media is being defined. Subsequently, this is the perfect opportunity to develop our personal ROI strategy for setting ourselves apart career-wise. If the new media train continues on its current course, we have much to gain from becoming knowledgeable. Perhaps you haven’t chosen to completely submerge yourself in new media because there are plenty of unknowns, but one thing is certain: social media, in one form or another, is here to stay. So, how do we use it? Even more, how do we use it to our advantage? Don’t wander aimlessly. Think strategy and use social media to the fullest:
*Learn to connect…online and off*
They don’t call them social networking sites for nothing. It might feel like you’re trying online dating, but you must seek people out, contribute and connect. As social media evolves, these networking skills become imperative for young professionals. We must take what we know of Facebook, MySpace, IM, YouTube, Twitter and Pandora, social media we were using throughout most of our college years, and transition to connecting strategically…and professionally.
There is a theory of thought that says the ROI of new media is measured in relationships. Even if you don’t agree, what’s so wrong with new contacts?
*Contribute*
When it comes to new media, there is nothing but opportunity for those who are willing to dig in and become an authority. Let’s face it, new media caters to you. You choose a playlist you enjoy on IMEEM, you accept friends you like and block punks you don’t on Facebook and MySpace, and you load your Google Reader down with blog subscriptions that help or interest you. As young pros in a new space, you must take all you get from the space and give something valuable back. This is not a Hallmark card suggestion. Contributing sets you up to obtain attributes that are attractive to future employers: initiative and new ideas.
*Social media suave makes you one hot young, professional item*
One of the biggest challenges most young professionals face regarding social media is in transitioning something that is second nature into something professional and valuable. You must move from IM chats with your college roommate to live video chats with a client from another continent, from “pimping” your MySpace page to maintaining your corporate blog. Some of you will have to put yourselves in the shoes of people who don’t understand how to physically use the tools we use, let alone develop specific strategies that works for clients. Others may be working among the social media pros that are blazing the way. In every instance, the greatest benefit for young pros using social media is the potential to understand how social media has developed over time and what individual, strategic steps people can take to get the most out of the space. The only way to do this is by getting involved.
*Kait Swanson is the manager of client fulfillment for a Cleveland-area public relations and marketing communications agency. She’s currently playing a lead role in the integration of new media into her company’s traditional model. Kait also writes at her personal blog, [www.somesangs.wordpress.com](http://somesangs.wordpress.com).*

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