Think about your interests. Find a social media networking site that is most suitable and aligned with those interests. Think about how you might use this network personally, and then how you might use it professionally. Reflect on this on your blog.
The social media networking site that most relates to my interests is probably Instagram. I am very interested in Graphic Design and Illustration, and I have found that there is a large community of designers and artists on there who share their artworks and designs. Because it is a photo-based social media, people can easily share images of finished works or works in progress.
When I use Instagram personally, I share photos of friends, my dog, things that I’m doing, and occasionally my artworks and designs. I have my account set to private, and only people that I approve can see my personal posts.
However, when using Instagram for a professional purpose, an account should be kept public so that it reaches a wide audience.
Ollier-Malaterre, A and Rothbard, N (2015) refer to four different strategies that can be used by professionals on social media, ‘open’, ‘audience’, ‘content’ and ‘custom’. An open strategy means that the user posts very honest and authentic content to their social media, and therefore they risk being considered unprofessional sometimes. The audience strategy means that professional and personal accounts are kept completely separate, and the content shared on both accounts is completely different. For a professional utilising the content strategy, they have professional contacts on their personal account and then choose to carefully consider what they upload, ensuring that even casual and personal posts still have an air of professionalism.
The final strategy is the ‘custom’ strategy, where both audience and content are managed via things like contact lists, allowing for both professional, and casual, honest identities to be present on social media.
I already use Instagram on a professional level as well as a personal level, as I use it to promote my small graphic design business. I have links between my personal and professional accounts although I keep the content separate. I believe that this achieves the custom strategy as I keep the content separate and different on the two accounts, yet I still allow for my friends to access my professional account if they wish to. I keep my personal account private so that I can keep my personal and more casual posts from being associated with my business.
According to Ames (2015), an important point to consider when using Instagram in a professional sense is the style in which you are writing. Whilst you need to be professional, you need to be relatable to the audience on the social media, and therefore your tone should reflect theirs. On my professional account, I try to achieve this by using emoticons and asking questions to try and promote comment responses from my followers.
As for using Instagram for professional journalism, American Journalism Review found that it was used by news professionals more so to promote the branding of the company rather than the actual news stories (Barron, R & Lardieri, A 2015). Titlow also supports this by saying that ‘Instagram is more about branding and engagement than eyeballs and dollars’ and that journalists are using the social media site as an experiment (2015).
Other professionals, however, have found that there is an opportunity to share actual stories on Instagram to a wide and receptive audience. For example, Neil Shea uses Instagram to share the extra stories that he writes that don’t always make it to the final copy of the magazine he works for, but he still feels deserve to be heard (Baker, D 2015).
Baker, D 2015, ‘Instagram journalism: The new content trend shaking up the media world’, Contently, 23 June, viewed 15 September 2015, http://contently.com/strategist/2015/06/23/instagram-journalism-the-new-content-trend-shaking-up-the-media-world/
Barron, R & Lardieri, A 2015, ‘Newspapers Hunt for New Readers on Instagram’, American Journalism Review, 7 April, viewed 15 September 2015, http://ajr.org/2015/04/07/newspapers-hunt-for-new-readers-on-instagram/
Ollier-Malaterre, A & Rothbard, N 2015, ‘How to Separate the Personal and Professional on Social Media’, Harvard Business Review, 26 March, viewed 15 September 2015, https://hbr.org/2015/03/how-to-separate-the-personal-and-professional-on-social-media
Titlow, J 2015, ‘How Journalists Are Using Instagram’, readwrite, 25 September, viewed 15 September 2015, http://readwrite.com/2012/09/24/how-journalists-are-using-instagram