LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for Re-entering Workforce Executives

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 4.26.53 PMSometimes busy executives can feel overwhelmed with all of the social media channels out there and what’s important and not important to know about. This week I assisted a client who’s re-entering the traditional workforce after years as a self-employed international consultant. In a one-hour session, we navigated the current and ever-changing landscape of digital communications.  This client was given a highly customized one one one tutorial using GoToMeeting (since she’s in D.C. and I’m in Tennessee). Her pre-submitted questions were as follows:

  1. Hashtags – Quite simply a hashtag is a way to “focus in” on a particular topic. It’s a really quick research tool to see what’s trending. One fascinating question that she had for me was “Can you own a hashtag the way you own a domain name?” I told her not to my knowledge and if someone with the same hashtag wants to use it they are certainly free and welcome to do so.
  2. LinkedIn– The client mentioned that her new colleagues immediately invited her to “LinkIn” with them once they knew they were going to be co-workers. Using LinkedIn in today’s business world is as common as a shaking hands. It’s a great way to see a summary of the other person’s credentials. Unlike most other social media channels LinkedIn has slightly more men. She asked why. My thought: Because men are more interested in “the business” (portraying resumes online and building a network) than women who are known to spend more time in relationship building. That’s my theory anyways and I’d welcome your ideas! Of course I showed her LinkedIn groups and shared that there really IS something for every business niche there. In her case starting her own private LinkedIn group (or Facebook group) for some of her key constituents could be a valuable way to stay in touch on a regular basis. It’s also important to give and to ask for written recommendations on LinkedIn. Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 4.16.43 PM
  3. Twitter– We reviewed the importance of social media tools such as Tweetdeck, Twitter Lists and Hootsuite when keeping up with the ever-flowing river of tweets. I likened twitter to a live mic in a broadcast booth and urged her to view every tweet as a public address. She should use these tools to see what she wants to see when she wants to see it. We talked about the changing demographics of twitter which originally started out as a 35+ channel, until the celebrities jumped on board. Now it is skewing younger. I personally love twitter because it reminds me of the AP “wire machines” that churned out news when I first began my career in broadcast journalism. If you want to know what’s happening in the world today, jump on twitter!
  4. Instagram– Extremely popular with the “tween” set, it’s been great fun for me to watch how the generation who are my son’s age (11/12 year olds) are embracing this social media channel. And they are NOT just posting photos. They are only too eager to make and share a variety of videos and use a variety of video apps to do so . I think what makes Instagram so fun is the fact that there are so few words and it’s all about images (and hashtags of course!)

I suggested she download all of these apps to her mobile devices in order to be able to access these channels on the go. That was a lot to cover in an hour for a re-entering C-Suite Executive. What are some of the things you would discuss or emphasize if you were training an executive on key social media channels and trends?


  • Sue Painter says:

    It’s interesting, the observations you made about LinkedIn and “shaking hands” as well as the skewing younger age of Twitter. Do you think LinkedIn is as good for entrepreneurs as for corporate types?

    • maryellen says:

      Sue I am a huge believer in the power of LinkedIn for all business professionals! As an entrepreneur I have gotten speaking engagements and made other great business connections through LinkedIn. Thanks for your question.

  • Jessica says:

    Great breakdown of the different social media channels. I often get asked by my clients which they should be active on and how to manage it all. I know there is power in LinkedIn, I just barely scratched the surface of it.

  • Great review of social media. I find LinkedIn groups to be very powerful and use them a lot.

    Interesting about Twitter being a younger crowd

    With my market being women 30+ I find Facebook to be very useful for my business

    • maryellen says:

      Trudy, twitter did not start out that way. I originally embraced it for its brevity but once the celebrities got on board the demographic needle shifted younger.

  • Mitch Tublin says:

    A quick and right to the point review of business and career use of social media. I would add the section on caution. Be careful what you post online in any forum. Everyone from HR to your contacts are looking at your online presence without context. What they see is what they see.

    • maryellen says:

      Mitch, you are so right about caution! I did verbally warn her of this but it would be good to have it in writing.

  • Lot’s a great info here. On the subject of hashtags, I’ve seen sites like were you can register your hashtag. I’m not sure what the benefits are of doing so, other than maybe building awareness of your hashtag so people know to follow it. Maybe I’ll check it out.

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