5 Rules for How To Make Social Media Benefit Your Career

Can Social Media Have a Positive Impact On Your Career?

Social media in professional development is a controversial topic.

Firstly, as people in your network only post things they do, rather than things they don’t do, you always have that feeling that others are on the move and making more progress in their lives than you do. Therefore, as a way of spending time, it can be toxic and lead to slow degradation of mental health and even cause depression.

Secondly, although social media platforms pitch themselves as avenues where you can truly connect with people, the pandemic has shown clearly that in absence of other, traditional and direct methods of connecting with people, social media do not prevent apathy and solitude. Even worse: social media reportedly contributed to the crisis by spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

Last but not the least, extensive usage of social media can generate issues with the attention span and disturb your ability to perform deep work. Social media notifications activate the same dopamine loop, also known as the reward system in the brain as cocaine or pathological gaming. Over 75% of Americans complain that social media notifications kill their focus at work.

Given all this, social media can be highly distracting and prevent you from achieving success in your professional life. However, according to research, social media can boost team productivity at work when responsibly used by team leaders. But, how can you profit from social media as an individual in a professional environment? The answer is: yes, but only under certain conditions.

How To Use Social Media Wisely and Make Them Work on Behalf of Your Career

In this article, we list five rules which will help you benefit from social media to the maximum while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls associated with using social media.

1. Create a Full Picture of You As a Professional Online and Make Yourself Easy To Find.

Let’s be honest — creating a compelling LinkedIn profile or creating a personal landing page are time-costly and tiresome activities. However, you should treat it as an investment. Social media profiles work like your online business card — they put you on the map so that you can be found and contacted.

But, you should make sure that you will be reached out to by the right people and at the right time. Therefore, your social media should reflect your current professional situation and professional aspirations as faithfully as possible. It is worth spending time on social media platforms to make sure that your profiles speak for themselves. Your social media communications will represent you like a personal agent.

Also, mind that in various working environments, various things about your professional and educational history might matter. For instance, in America, your education history is much more important than in Europe. This is because the higher education system is not free here. This makes university degrees much more exclusive than in Europe. Therefore, make sure that you list all the points from your professional and educational history that might potentially be relevant.

Of course, for your professional development, the most relevant social medium is currently LinkedIn. For more information on how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile, please check our article “10 Steps to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile in 2022.

Furthermore, make yourself easy to find online. Today, social media are not disconnected but rather, they form one huge ecosystem in which you need to get visible. When someone finds your profile on LinkedIn, they might be also willing to check your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts — or vice versa. People often prefer one social medium over another and would rather connect with you using their preferred social medium.

Therefore, you should make sure that it is easy to find information about your multiple social media accounts. A good practice is to create a free personal Linktree account, list all your social media profiles in there, and link your LinkTree profile in the headlines on all your social media profiles. This is an easy way in which users looking for your personal information can easily navigate between platforms.

Lastly, make sure that you are easy to recognize. Use the same profile photo on every platform and make sure that the slugs contain your full name. It is better to add numbers to your name in case your preferred slug is taken than come up with a nickname that other users might be unfamiliar with.

2. Specific Advice For The Leading Social Media Platforms.

Lastly, social media platforms vary in scope and follow various written and unwritten rules. It is hard to become visible on every single platform unless you have a team of subcontractors actively working on your social media communications for you. The platforms that you should think of joining as a professional are (in the order of the most to the least relevant):

An obvious choice for every professional and every business — as of today, it’s the to-go-to place for professional development online. While posting on LinkedIn, you need to remember that it is meant for professional development, therefore, you should keep your content at least remotely related to your professional life.

Despite the platform slowly dying due to its dysfunctional, ad-based business model, it is still the biggest platform with 3 billion accounts (as compared to less than 1 billion accounts for LinkedIn). Therefore, Facebook is hard to ignore. While posting on Facebook, you need to remember that it is a visual platform — every post should be illustrated with a photo or graphics, or otherwise, it will go unnoticed.

Today, communication is becoming more and more meme-based, brief, and visual. No wonder more and more businesses and individuals move the center of their online activity to Instagram. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can also decrease the effort by linking the two accounts so that your Facebook posts automatically show up on your Instagram.

Today, creating podcasts is not only the domain of professional content creators but also individuals who wish to show their professional knowledge to the world and create new professional contacts. If you feel that you could spare one evening per week to do something creative and work-related, but you don’t feel like writing blogs, you should consider shooting videos or creating audio files and putting your content online. YouTube is the second biggest browser in the world, right after Google. Therefore, it will help you promote your content for free.

TikTok is a controversial but phenomenal platform to promote yourself as a professional. If you enjoy talking to a camera and if you prefer brief forms of communication, TikTok is perfect for you. Of course, using Youtube and Tiktok is complimentary, not contradictory!

As a visual platform showcasing ideas, Pinterest is the first line of choice primarily for businesses based on visual content such as lifestyle blogs, restaurants, and interior design firms. Of course, you can also choose to develop your Pinterest as an individual, but developing the following there is highly time- and energy-consuming.

works best for thought leaders and content creators. If you enjoy chatting about topics related to your discipline, Clubhouse is perfect for promoting yourself as a professional with a little effort.

If you enjoy writing, promoting yourself as a professional via Medium is perfect for gaining readership and building your personal brand in your field.

Also, mind that Google no longer penalizes for doubling content across social media platforms. Therefore, you are free to copy your own content across platforms and cite yourself.

3. Conneeeeect!

Once your social media accounts are in place, time to connect with anyone who might be relevant to you in your professional life. Remember that not only your current coworkers, but also your past coworkers, friends from childhood and primary school, and your distant family might matter for your professional career!

Also, remember that most people appreciate low-intensity contact. If they observe your social media activity for a long time and sporadically have contact with you, they will interpret you as a friend. It is more important to have low-intensity contact over a long period than high-intensity contact all the time. For this reason, the more people you invite to your network, the better for you.

4. Safety First: Learn The Rules of Social Media Communication.

Safety first! Once you develop your social media profiles and network, you need to learn the hygiene of social media communications. If you communicate in the wrong way, you might raffle feathers, make yourself enemies in your professional environment, or even lose your job.

Today, the differences in tone between various platforms have blurred. While a decade ago, Facebook and Twitter were strictly casual and LinkedIn was strictly professional, now, the tone in communication came closer between platforms.

You should take this into account while communicating online. Your manager and your colleagues will likely watch your Facebook profile and might get judgmental once they notice a photo from a party where you are caught sleeping on a couch. Or, when they take a look at your Instagram and notice dozens of seminude photos in a swimming suit taken on a holiday trip.

You also need to remember about accountability: nothing really evaporates from the Internet. Therefore, it is not worth getting pulled into heated debates on social media. There are three internationally acclaimed taboos that you should NEVER touch: politics, religion, and sexual orientation. Just imagine that you express your strong democratic views on every occasion, then you apply for a job, and find out at the interview that the recruiter is a dogmatic Republican. That’s a self-checkmate.

So, make sure that you come across as neutral and polite online. If you feel a deep need to freely express your views — for instance on Twitter — and show your support for certain politicians or activists, you can create another, shadow, anonymous account for that purpose.

And of course, never complain about your boss and working conditions on social media, unless you are ready and excited for a long period of unemployment.

Furthermore, be brief and transparent. Some people flood the Internet with their stream of thoughts and share their opinions on any possible topic without any limits. If you talk about everything, you become an expert in nothing. If you talk all the time, people stop listening. Or they get so annoyed with the volume of your content that they unfollow or unsubscribe.

Therefore, make sure that your communications are spiked with content and brief. Make memorable punchlines rather than telling long stories. Chop your posts into short, one-two sentence paragraphs to make them easy to read. Use emojis to draw attention to important elements such as links.

Also, remember that people are interested in one thing only: themselves. Therefore, the more advice and useful information you share online, the more career progress you will observe.

Lastly, learn about online culture! Today, social media speak their own language full of emojis and memes. Social media communications become much more fun when you learn to speak this fascinating, multifaceted language. To learn more about emojis in the workplace, please check our article “Emojis in the Workplace AD 2022: Hot or Not?

5. Make Social Media Work For You, Not The Other Way Around.

Just as it is with cooking, some people rest while using social media while others get tired of it pretty quickly. Regardless of how you naturally react to social media, they will stimulate the reward system in your brain.

Therefore, you need to introduce some system meant to control your dopamine levels. You need to set clear rules for how to manage social media, and when. Counterintuitively, it works better to treat social media as a task, and when it comes to that, focus on your social media activity — rather than treat them as a distraction and take a quick look to squeeze in between meetings.

You also need to set rules for your online communications. Many strangers might write to you during the day, therefore, you should set your limits. Also, what is your optimal division of time between producing your own content and engaging in the discussions under other creators’ content?

If you are a content creator or a leader in your field, you probably need to spare more than 50% of your “social media time” on broadcasting your own, original content and points of view. If you are a specialist who does not seek any attention online, you might be willing to spend the majority of your social media time engaging in interesting conversations online and making new connections that might potentially lead to new jobs.

Just think about how you would wish to benefit from social media and adjust your strategy to this wishlist.


Social media offer almost unlimited opportunities in terms of self-promotion as a professional. However, you shouldn’t expect fast results when communicating on social media. Remember that the growth is nonlinear and it often follows an exponential curve. Don’t expect fast results; it is a long-term game. Many people miss the patience necessary to get results from social media activity and give up right before they can witness the effects of their social media activity.

Furthermore, follow the innovation around (social) media. We are currently experiencing a technological revolution around the Internet. The new developments in web3 might lead to whole new ways of organizing the data and online communication in the future. Therefore, we cannot take any social media platform for granted. You need to be flexible and open-minded, follow the trends, and systematically hone your online communication skills. Good luck!

Originally published at https://ontologyofvalue.com on September 26, 2022.



A neuroscientist helping professionals in finding their dream career paths at ontologyofvalue.com Privately, enthusiast of tech with affinity to blockchains.

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Natalia Bielczyk, PhD

Natalia Bielczyk, PhD

A neuroscientist helping professionals in finding their dream career paths at ontologyofvalue.com Privately, enthusiast of tech with affinity to blockchains.