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Millennials and Social Media: The Skills You Need to Succeed

By Rebekah Radice

7 min read

Millennials, a generation born into the Internet. Whether it's time spent on Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, this tech-savvy group is connected 24/7. Yet surprisingly, when it comes to using social media in the workplace, millennials are still unprepared. As William Ward, a professor of social media at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications says,

"Just because somebody grows up being a social media native, doesn't make them an expert in using social media at work, That's like saying, 'I grew up with a fax machine, so that makes me an expert in business.'"

So, how can millennials maximize their use of social media without damaging their career? I was honored to join College Cash this week, a Twitter chat hosted by Jodi Okun where we tackled this topic. Below are the questions and answers between Jodi and myself, including the wonderful feedback shared throughout the chat. In case you missed the conversation, you can read the entire chat here #CollegeCash.

Q: What do millennials need to keep in mind as they brand themselves on social media?

Millennials crave online connection, but you have to be smart about who you’re connecting with.

yes RT @RebekahRadice: A1 Be careful what you post or tweet. You never know who’s watching! #collegecash pic.twitter.com/blUf0OQ1w1 — Jodi Okun (@JodiOkun) November 21, 2014
@JodiOkun Social Media is like an eyewitness recording that can always be replayed... Must be my legal background talking #collegecash — Wendy David-Gaines (@pocsmom) November 21, 2014

It’s not all about you. Who are you trying to connect with and how can you solve their problems? Be a GIVER!

Q: How should millennials construct their social media bio?

Keep your profile upbeat, educational, and fun. People want to get to know you, so let them! Be consistent! Carry your bio across all of your social channels. Optimize your bio with skills, expertise and industry keywords so you’re easy to find.

A3: Try to keep your college profiles professional and evolve them as your career begins. #collegecash — Victor Garcia (@EducationNews1) November 21, 2014

Q: From college to career, how does social media change?

Dramatically! Social media can feel like fun and games in college. As that shifts, so should your content.

A3 Social media is about building relationships, sharing/gaining knowledge. Great tool for growing professional network #collegecash — Maine Education Svcs (@MESFoundation) November 21, 2014

Your approach has to change from late night party pics to professional conversation. Be strategic in your connections. It’s quality over quantity rather than random interaction.

A3 I noticed a change in both my kids social media as soon as they were out of college and employed. #collegecash — Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal) November 21, 2014

Q: With millennials, it's all about Tinder, Snapchat and Instagram – what advice do you have for these platforms?

Not every social network is right for your business or career. Be careful where and how you’re spending time.

@RebekahRadice always have to remember this one "Not every social network is right for your business or career" #collegecash — Jodi Okun (@JodiOkun) November 21, 2014
  • Be real and be you, but know your boundaries.
  • Don’t post something online that isn’t a direct representation of who you are offline.
  • Share what you’re passionate about. Those are the connectors that draw the right people to you.

Q: Why should millennials focus on security and privacy a little more?

Bring your street smarts to the online world. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your space. Understand that you’re fully exposed when online.

Very hard to teach to JrHigh and Freshmen kids :)MT @RebekahRadice A5 Understand that you’re fully exposed when online. #collegecash — Jeff Sieh (@jeffsieh) November 21, 2014

Be careful with what you do and share. If people can hack Target for information, they can hack your accounts. Change up passwords, often!

Q: What do you want millennials to know about meaningful hashtags vs. #omgiloveit

Use hashtags with purpose. The point is to capture the attention of the right people.

@RebekahRadice: A6 Use hashtags with purpose. The point is to capture the attention of the right people.. #collegecash” — CaribbeanCuttie (@CaribbeanCuttie) November 21, 2014

Looking for a job? Use a hashtag that’s relevant to that industry. Use @Tagboard to research. Fun hashtags are fine, but be cautious in their use. Always look at it from a recruiter's point of view.

Q: When do millennials need to just put the phone down?

Often! Get engaged with your surroundings and take an interest in the people right in front of you.

What's up with millennials and social media? @RebekahRadice knows and she's telling #CollegeCash! pic.twitter.com/cdpPgIPTLO — Jodi Okun (@JodiOkun) November 17, 2014

What could you accomplish if you put the phone down and focused on just ONE thing? Quality time with those around you is precious. Strive to find balance by looking UP from the phone.

Q: What should millennials have in the forefront of their mind when posting pictures?

  • If you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing that pic to your mom, don’t post it!
  • Perception is everything in the online world. Think before you share something damaging.
  • Ask yourself: do your pictures help build trust and establish credibility or tear it down?
A8 Always ask yourself: do your pictures help build trust and establish credibility or tear it down? #collegecash — Rebekah Radice (@RebekahRadice) November 21, 2014

Q: What platform do you think millennials need to devote more time to?

  • Google+. It’s a phenomenal business resource. Get involved in communities devoted to your passions.
  • LinkedIn is a must. Create your account, complete your bio and join relevant groups.
  • YouTube. There’s no better way to establish trust than to get face-to-face with people.

Just look at Michelle Phan, an excellent example of a Millennial that's harnessed the power of YouTube in a really big way.

Q: What are three things you want to leave us with tonight?

Get involved in the conversation. Ask questions around your industry and pay attention to the answers. You can't start using social media to market yourself until you understand its purpose and value. Get educated!

Whether you're a millennial using social media or a business eager to engage with millennials, understand how to best use social media to connect, interact and build relationships is critical.

How are you using social media to grow your online presence?

Rebekah Radice

About Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.