Social Media Strategies for College Students

Written by  //  2012/08/13  //  Media, Social Media  //  Comments Off on Social Media Strategies for College Students

Today’s college students are adept with all things social media. They grew up with it and as soon as they turned 13, began to use Facebook, Twitter and other sites. The Internet is part of their lives, representing the first generation of wired students. But, college students are sometimes lax in their Internet use, making decisions that can harm them when it comes time to look for a job.

Let’s take a look at the best social media strategies for today’s college students:

1. Keep it real.
Some people use the Internet to bring out a different persona, putting forth a user that is very different from who they really are. While this can be fun, it will cause problems for you if your real name is associated with your online character. Right or wrong, people make perceptions based on information that you share. Your online presence should give a good representation to people of who you really are.

2. Connect with care.
Quite easily, you can get overwhelmed by the number of people that you are following via social media. That ideal number can vary from platform to platform although "Psychology Today" offers "302" as the number of Facebook friends you can follow. Expand your horizons by following new people too — connections that can help you out later in life.

3. Manage your time.
Have you come across people that just can’t seem to get away from Facebook? You may be one of them if you’re using social media for hours on end every single day. Avoid burn out by managing your time. Eating, sleeping, exercising and face to face interaction are important. You’ll know that you’re too involved when your grades slip or you connect more with your friends online than you do in person.

4. Stay within boundaries.
In the first step we discussed keeping it real. But, that also means remembering that not everyone you connect with is a close friend. Among your followers can be people you wouldn’t want to associate with face to face, which is why you must be careful about sharing your information with other people. Don’t automatically click on links to join a community on Facebook — your identity might be compromised or even stolen. Protect your profile and change your passwords regularly.

5. Interact, don’t pontificate.
Social media is your platform for engaging with others. Sadly, too often people use Facebook and Twitter as a self-promotional tool or a place to air a grievance. Avoid monologues — embrace dialogues. Sure, you can express your opinion, but don’t shoot down other people if they disagree with your viewpoint. This is good practice when you’re in the workplace.

6. Connect through friends.
One excellent way to build up a network of like-minded followers is by asking friends to connect you with their friends. This is especially important with LinkedIn as this business connection site can help you connect with a potential employer. BTW, you may think that you don’t need a LinkedIn account until your senior year of college. Don’t wait — open one now — you may be able to land an internship through its job service.

7. Know where you stand online.
Have you ever googled your name? This is important because you may retrieve information about yourself that is inaccurate, outdated or just plain weird. Now, if you posted that information, then you need to go back and delete or update your blog posts, forum comments or other social media actions to remove potentially damaging information. Do this now even if you are a college freshman and are several years away from entering the work force. More employers are using social media to check out applicants. Control your online information; if you can’t get something negative removed, be prepared to give an explanation if asked by an employer.

8. Start a blog.
If your personal name is available as a domain name, then buy it. If not, use a name as close to your own as possible. Then, upload a blog and begin to use it. Fill out your about page, share details about yourself and write regularly. A blog can be your best personal face online, your home page where you’ll tell your story. Blogging can help you connect with professionals in your area of study, people that can help you find work and advance your career.

Closing Strategies

Certainly, your online interactions while in college will affect you for years to come. YouTube may be fun, but don’t upload trashy videos. Facebook drunk photos are not cool and should never be uploaded. Lastly, always treat people with respect online as your social media interactions can help or harm you.

Resources

Psychology Today: You’ve Got to Have Friends, But How Many? — http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner/201005/youve-got-have-friends-how-many

Information Law Group: Social Networking: Setting Boundaries in a Borderless Brave New World — http://www.infolawgroup.com/2010/05/articles/social-networking/social-networking-setting-boundaries-in-a-borderless-brave-new-world/

LinkedIn: Jobs for Students and Recent Graduates — http://www.linkedin.com/studentjobs

The New York Times: More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out Applicants — http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/more-employers-use-social-networks-to-check-out-applicants/

Anita Everhart is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. She writes for OrganicSEOCompany.com, a nationally recognized Organic SEO firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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