On the 11th November 2021, InvestIN hosted Success with Social Media, a bespoke webinar designed for teachers who want to help their students safely navigate the internet, the soft and hard skills needed to ensure a successful career in social media and creating successful professional profiles. The event was led by Afzal Hussein (founder of Simpley and YouTube content creator) who delivered key advice on using social media to enhance career opportunities, inspiring students to find their purpose and the skills required to build a brand. Read on to learn how your students can utilise social media platforms to enhance their professional development. Our programmes are designed to give students aged 12 - 18 the resources they need to succeed. Get once-in-a-lifetime experiences and key insider knowledge in 15 different careers. View Programmes Social Media Today Social media is here to stay, as is our dependence on the internet for learning and communicating. With generations of people who have never lived without the internet growing every day, there can be no doubt we are living in a digital era. The arrival of Covid-19 brought about an even greater shift in our digital habits. Lockdown created an environment where people turned even more frequently to the internet to keep up with news, to fill up spare time, to find entertaining content and connect with friends and family. In the US for example social media consumption went up by 72% and posting by 43%. The current cohort of generation Z students have never known a world without social media, so how can we leverage this interest to help them enhance their future prospects? Top UK Social Media Platforms According to Statista and Sprout Social social media stats, in 2020: Facebook is still the reigning social network with 2.7 billion monthly active users and their largest age group being 25 - 34 year olds. Instagram reported 1 billion monthly active users with 500 million people using Instagram Stories and their largest age group being 25 - 34 year olds. LinkedIn announced its global monthly active users amassed 722 million with their largest age group being 46 - 55 year olds Twitter had 187 million daily active users with their largest age group at 30 - 49 years old Tiktok reached 689 million users and Snapchat reached 433 million users globally, with their prime age groups between 13 - 16 and 13 - 29 respectively. These statistics prove a huge majority of the population use social networks. Whether this is to connect, seek support or find community in hard times, it has become a constant feature of modern society. Is Whatsapp Social Media? One app you may have noticed missing from the above list is Whatsapp. Can we define the popular instant messaging platform as a social network? Social media can be defined as a network that allows users to express their thoughts and opinions through photos, videos, profiles, ideas and information over the internet.. Whatsapp boasts over 2 billion active users worldwide sharing various forms of media as well as calling, video calling, creating profiles, sharing status updates and more. So, Whatsapp can be defined as a social networking platform. One that impressively transcends age groups. Discussion point: why not try debating this with your class and see what they come up with? Professional Development: The Advantages of Social Media Beyond the obvious social benefits, platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can make excellent professional development tools. Social media is a great, free way to discover new trends, connect with different professional communities, share new ideas, bring attention to portfolios, promote events, participate in training and build a professional brand. Though most school students will only be at the very start of their career journeys, most will have been using social media from a young age. Educating them early on of the advantages of using social media in the professional world can create a positive, productive atmosphere to get students thinking about their future. Discussion point: why not ask your students who their favourite companies on social media are? Growing your network Social media is a great resource for students looking to expand their professional network. Websites like LinkedIn are specifically made for this purpose and can be incredibly useful. The ability to easily search for organisations and connect with like-minded professionals is an excellent way to build up contacts and make yourself visible to future employers. Twitter can also be a less formal way for students to keep in touch with professionals they come into contact with (on work experience placements or via extracurriculars, for example). Job opportunities LinkedIn is also extremely handy for researching job opportunities. Here students can explore the companies or organisations they might later want to work for and see what jobs they’re advertising. It’s also a great place for students to keep a record of their experience and employability skills. Not only can they list their achievements, but they can also link blogs, articles, videos, artwork or other creative projects as a way to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers. Separating Professional and Personal Branding on Social Media The increase of different social networks for different purposes (e.g.Facebook for social networking, LinkedIn for professional networking, Instagram or Pinterest for photo sharing, Youtube for video sharing), means it's becoming easier for people to separate their personal profiles from their professional ones. This opens up huge opportunities for students. It means they can optimise their professional profiles to suit their needs and ensure everything they’re posting is workplace-appropriate. They can also develop different communities and networks depending on their interests. Discussion point: ask your students what they think is appropriate to share on a professional profile. Social Media Professional Development We’ve gathered together some of the top ways your students can develop a first-rate professional profile. Tips on Building Your Professional Profile on Social Media Find Your Unique Selling Point A unique selling point, or USP, is what makes an individual stand out from the crowd. Ask students what they want to be known for, what they have achieved (or aspire to achieve), and what their goals are. How can they promote these things? A good way to start is to get them thinking about their hobbies and interests and the skills they’ve gained from them. Research the Industry Ask students to look at the industry they wish to enter before starting a profile. How do people in the industry present themselves and where do they promote themselves? What do they mention in their profiles: what posts and articles do they share and what advice do they give on their page? Get students to practise emulating the professionals they admire. To start, why not have a look at : 8 Ways to Improve Your Employability at School (with advice from our industry experts) or Skills Advice from 20 Top Professionals? Develop a Public Image Nowadays, most people have multiple social media accounts with much of the same information shared across them. The key to building a professional profile across multiple platforms is making sure they are consistent. Use similar language and identical branding where possible: if you use the same professional photo across every form of social media you are immediately more recognisable to visitors no matter which platform they choose. Write a Bio Your bio (and photo) is the first impression of you that employers will get, so it is important to do it right. Get your students to practise writing out their relevant information in a clear, professional way. This will usually include their name, title (or desired title) and recent career achievements. Posting on Social Media The use of social media presents an unprecedented opportunity for people to showcase their personality in a professional way. But students should be mindful of the content they post; links should be professional, appropriate and relevant to their chosen sector. This is where careful consideration needs to be taken. Get your students to ask themselves the following questions: Who is my audience? Is this relevant to my audience? Is this post appropriate for a professional audience? What posts will appeal to my target audience? Asking these questions before posting can help to keep content relevant and useful to their network. Looking to learn more about social media? Our Marketing Weekend Experiences offer a 360 degree, immersive view of the industry with advice from top experts. Show me Main Takeaways Social media is here to stay, so it’s important students learn how to use it safely and correctly, use our checklist to help them understand the do’s and don’ts of social media Ask students to research before creating a professional profile to ensure that the right platforms are utilised in the right way Social platforms can be an excellent resource for expanding a professional network and finding community linked to their passions and passion projects Students should find their USP (unique selling point) so that they can stand out from the crowd Educators should encourage students to research the industry they would like to enter into to develop their knowledge on how social media is changing their chosen industry’s landscape and to ensure they are using the right platforms A biography is an important first impression that employers get so its important that students know how to write them properly Success with Social Media Resource Pack In this resource pack we have provided information on how to support your students with social media, as well as relevant books, shows and articles and a fun task for students with a social media checklist. Success with Social Resource Pack You can find a recording of the event Succeeding with Social Media and view upcoming events here. Keep the discussion going with other teachers over on Twitter @InvestIN_Ed Not sure how to help your students choose a career? An InvestIN programme offers a comprehensive insight into an industry, so students can test drive a career before committing to it. Industry experts will guide your child through immersive career simulations, hands-on activities and inspiring site visits, whilst also giving detailed advice on how to succeed.