You may be thinking that since you are a product manager, and you are not in sales or marketing, so social media doesn’t matter. But it does—and now in COVID, more than ever. It is one of the few ways you can put your message, both personal and professional, out there.
Building your brand on social media is how you can build and maintain your reputation.
Your online presence is often what people first discover. If people Googled you, what would they find? It is important you have an online blueprint that is both authentic and positive.
There are many platforms targeted at professionals where you can grow and develop your network. Additionally, you probably won't work at your current company forever (I know, it's shocking!) so it's important that you grow your own brand. When a recruiter googles you, what will they find? Your social media is your most public asset and resume.
You may be a product manager, not a salesperson, but guess what? You ARE a salesperson. Every single team member is, because without sales there would be no company. Customers buy from people they know, like, and trust.
It's the start that stops most people, so just start. It is that simple. Do an audit of your current social media, both professional and personal, and make sure everything is up to date and appropriate. Posting about personal things on personal platforms is definitely OK, but ensure it is not at all offensive.
In the beginning, you probably are not going to get 100 likes or comments on a post. It may just be your family and close friends or co-workers. However, no one became famous on social media right away, and just like anything else, it takes time and patience. You have to start to build your following, and one way to do that is to start to engage with others. I recommend you take five minutes a day to interact with people.
A simple method to help you if you like checklists is the 5-3-1 method, which Chalene Johnson, a social media influencer, uses this specifically for Instagram, but it can be used for any platform. Here is how you can spend your five minutes—basically, rinse and repeat until the time is up:
Building a relationship like this online is similar to networking in person. However, you don't need to be at an event, and you can take more time to think before you talk.
That really depends on two things:
Last year, I would have told you to keep your LinkedIn posts almost totally professional and trickle in some personal details. On Twitter, I would have recommended a 50/50 split of personal and professional, whereas I would have said to keep Facebook, Instagram, etc. mostly personal with a trickle of professional information.
However, COVID-19 has changed the game because the lines between work and personal are a total blur. We are encouraged to bring our kids, spouses, and pets to Zoom meetings. We work when we can and the best we can.
I do encourage you to let people get to know you by weaving in things about yourself. If posting about your family makes you uncomfortable, then think about other interests you have. Maybe you like cooking or running, so you can share about those. My recommendation is to do what you are comfortable with.
If you do decide to post non-work, personal things, please stay away from controversial topics. Politics and religion are the most obvious, but if you have to think, "Should I post this?" the answer is probably, "No, just don't do it."
Don't just be out there creating noise or posting just for the sake of posting. Every single post you make should do one of three things:
You are a product manager, so you need to be posting about products that are here as well as things that are coming as part of the road map. Often times you can hint at future releases before they are here. Of course, you need to stay within company guidelines as you post, but those vague posts will keep people coming back for more.
To keep engagement up, use the platform features. For example, LinkedIn just launched stories, so using those can get you more visibility. Additionally, asking questions and polls, where people can respond, will get you more visibility. That's how algorithms work—the more people engage, the more people the platform shows the post to.
I have always been a strong believer in social media for good, and I believe you can brighten someone's mood and increase your credibility with your posts. It's now more important than ever to use social media to tell your story. Your current and future employers will thank you. You just have to start.