Using Social Media to Empower Assistants

When Nicky Christmas approached me to speak about my top social media tips for beginners at The Assist Conference 2016, I was truly honoured. I’m a huge fan of Practically Perfect PA.  Despite my passion for social media I haven’t always been adept at it and was a twitter virgin until The Assist Conference 2015.  It is never too late to add a new string to your bow and social media seems to be the way forward for the future Assistant.

If you are nervous of engaging on social media – my advice is to simply look, listen and learn.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You can follow and connect with other Assistants, clients, colleagues, suppliers, brand ambassadors and influencers.  By doing this you will become aware of what is going on in your industry & profession, potential training / conferences, networking associations, publications to read, awards to enter etc.  The world is your oyster.

The wonderful Jacqui Quigley covered LinkedIn tips on the day and you can learn more about how to rock an all start PA brand via the attached link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-rock-all-star-pa-brand-jacqui-quigley.  I’m sure that you will all agree that Jacqui is certainly rocking the LinkedIn brand via social media and is a worthy PA ambassador.

Did you know that 2 billion people are on social media in some shape or form?  It is not going away.  Hopefully my 10 top tips will help you understand why it is so important for Assistants to be online and therefore connected, current and relevant.

  1. Firstly, I would suggest that you contact the Communications Department of your company and investigate what your Social Media Policy is in relation to employee engagement. It could be listed on your company intranet.  Be mindful of the security and privacy settings of each platform and remember that you are in full control here so make sure you play around here so that you are happy to proceed.  These can be tweaked at any time.
  2. Personal branding and consistency– irrespective of the platform you are on try to use a professional and consistent photo i.e. no selfies, graduation shots, evening gowns and pictures with others cropped out.  If you want to be considered as a professional, you must present yourself as one.  You can get free headshots at PA/EA conferences such as Office Show.  You can learn more about my opinion on PA headshots via this link: http://www.theheadshotguy.co.uk/tag/personal-assistant-headshot/
  3. Facebook (liking pages)– by liking Facebook business pages you will be able to see what your contacts and connections are up to and see their updates in your newsfeed.  Sometimes the newsfeed can be overwhelming and so fast moving.  Do you ever save items to read later?  You need to go to the arrow on the top right hand side of the article and click on save.
  4. Facebook Groups for PAs/EAs– in my experience these are slightly more interactive and informal than LinkedIn groups. A group will be either open or closed depending on whether membership is entailed.  I can personally recommend the IMA and Executive Secretary Magazine groups for interactive social networking across the globe.
  5. Twitter tagging– A lot of people are not aware that you can tag up to 10 people in a photo. This can save using up your 140 characters and extend the reach of the tweet.
  6. Twitter lists– this is a great way of organising contacts and you can make your list public or private.  If you don’t have the time you can subscribe to pre-existing lists.  Check out my PA Network list – you could be already on it!  Similarly, you can create Facebook lists and organize your connections and their access accordingly.
  7. Tweetchats– are you aware of Executive Secretary Magazine’s free weekly tweetchat #adminchat? It is sponsored by UK Avery and takes place every Thursday at 6pm UK time.  Great learning & networking with Assistants and Trainers from around the globe.
  8. Hashtags –  On twitter the hash sign turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. It creates a conversation around a subject and is a great way of engaging before, during or after an event or conference i.e. #assistconf.   Hashtags are not exclusive to twitter.  You can learn more about my feelings on hashtags via this link:  http://eventopedia.com/blog/the-proud-assistant-1/
  9. Google Alert– if you want to impress the boss, gain brownie points and have up to date news you can set up google alerts for topics of interest (company updates, products & services, clients etc.)
  10. Hootsuite– if you find it difficult getting the time to dip in and out of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn etc. you can use a free social media management tool like Hootsuite which can tie them all together.  You can also schedule posts and tweets for future dates and times and upload an Excel schedule.  Hootsuite Podium is also a free training resource for social media.

So what is the ultimate benefit of being networked online?  For me it creates a sense of familiarity and buy-in so when people meet me in person having already connected with me on LinkedIn or twitter it makes it feel easier and almost like you are meeting a friend.  Through my work it has enabled me to make great restaurant, hotel and venue contacts.  In relation to clients it puts a face to a name and makes them feel more comfortable.  It is especially powerful for networking at events or conferences such as The Assist Conference.

Being an Assistant can be an isolated role.  We are often the only one in our team and may not have cover in place.  There may be silos within your office but going on social media platforms makes you appreciate that you are not alone.  There is a large community out there in groups or tweeting who are sharing best practice and information and generally a very supportive bunch.

My biggest take away tip of the day was to recommend the following book:

Social Media Made Simple – How to Avoid Social Media Suicide by Mary Thomas at Concise Training

By reading this you will go from beginner to intermediate in one sitting.

Lastly a huge thank you once again to everyone who came to my round table sessions.  It was great to meet everyone and exchange our views and here is to continuing the networking online.  A special thank you to Nicky for giving me the opportunity to follow my passion of championing the PA profession and connecting us all online.

This post originally featured in Practically Perfect PA.

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