With the NAFSA annual conference just around the corner, we’d like to talk about the importance of getting social. More specifically, we’re referring to the use of social media to enhance your career and professional development. As we’ve stated previously, merging your offline and online networking together is integral to how you market yourself. To give you a better sense as to why your online profile has become increasingly valuable, we’re covering some of the key questions we’ve received as social media advocates, and discussing what it means for you as an international educator.

Why is social media so important for career development?

Social media is important for career development because it’s such a powerful form of networking. As is inherent in the term “social networks,” channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram have become the places to build a network of friends, fans, followers, connections, or whatever else you’d like to call them! Networking is key to career and professional development. The connections you make on social media could help you get a new job, find a mentor, learn more about your industry, support a career change, and more.

What are some top tips for networking on social media?

While our presentation will go into more detail, some top tips for networking on social media include: 1) choosing the right channels, 2) optimizing your profiles, and 3) being active and consistent. We know that life can get busy, but you wouldn’t shake someone’s hand and then turn around and walk away without saying anything would you? Social networking is similar; you need to have a good presentation (first impression or appearance) and then actively engage in conversations with people once you’re connected to them.

How can international educators learn more about the field on social media?

There are lots of ways! Our go-to resource is LinkedIn groups, but there are several other channels, forums, Facebook pages, and hashtags that international educators should be following. Join us for our presentation to get a list of our favorites.

Interested in learning more? Join us on Wednesday, June 1 from 9:00 a.m.–9:45 a.m. for our presentation, “Using Social Media for Career Development,” in the Career Center located in the Four Seasons Ballroom 4.

Kayla Patterson is the GoMedia director and social media strategist for GoAbroad.com, and is often referred to as the resident social media nerd. Since 2011, she has worked with GoAbroad and dozens of international educators on improving their online marketing. She also lends her time to fundraising and implementing online marketing strategies for the GoAbroad Foundation. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others, and has presented at NAFSA as well as many other global conferences. Follow her on Twitter: @kaylapatt.

As the partnership and communications manager, Tiffany Harrison is responsible for all internal and external communications for STA Travel US. Prior to this role, she was the outreach manager at GoAbroad.com for nearly four years, developing her knowledge and passion for international education and student travel. She is also involved with communities like the NAFSA Rainbow SIG and Technology MIG. She often presents on brand management and social media, online marketing, and methods for translating the student experience. Follow her on Twitter: @ttmharrison.