Networking doesn’t just have to be done face-to-face. Thanks to the Internet and the many social media platforms that have popped up in the past decade, we can now expand our networks worldwide. If time or distance is a problem and you can’t always meet with people in person, social media can be the next best thing and is a very useful and essential tool to strengthen your interpersonal relationships.
With a strong online presence, you have the opportunity to reach out and connect with like-minded peers all over the globe, which is especially useful when you’re trying to build a career in the yachting industry. More and more crew are adopting Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to grow their personal brands in the industry and share knowledge in different areas of interest.
But as great as social media is, there are a few things to be conscious of when you’re networking online. You need to exercise caution about what you post because everything you say and do will reflect back on you, your attitude and your professional reputation.
Online conversations in places like Facebook groups or pages are often public for others to see. And yes! Some captains and crew agents read what you post so keep your comments clean and professional. When it comes to your own page, edit your privacy settings so you can decide which contacts see what. Assign your contacts to different privacy groups. For example, you could have a group of close friends and family who can see all your posts on Facebook and then a group of acquaintances who have restricted access to your page. Also make sure your entire profile is not public. You wouldn’t want a potential employer to get the wrong impression because they came across a compromising photo of you.
Your personal brand:
What image do you project online? What will people think when they see your profile or read your posts? Your Internet presence is an extension of your personal brand and image online. The things you say, the pages you follow and the people you connect with, are all a reflection on you. When you comment, like or share a post, it shows up in the News Feed of your connections so be selective about what you share with the world.
What will a potential employer come across if they were to conduct a background check on you? Google your name and see what comes up on the first page – you could consider this the ‘home page’ of your personal brand. When you do this, you might be surprised by what information is out there. Perhaps it’s a comment you made on an online article or a photograph you were tagged in years ago. Make the effort to develop a professional profile on platforms like LinkedIn and tailor your online image so you’re always shown at your professional best when someone Googles you.
In short, a good reputation online is part of building a good reputation offline. If you watch what you say and stay on top of your privacy settings, social media can be a simple and effective way to network with other industry professionals and further your career in yachting.
Have you come across any situations where social media has been used well to create a personal brand? Perhaps you have a story where social media went wrong? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.