Leveraging Social Media

In the modern era it’s impossible to ignore the importance of social media. The value it presents on a daily if not hourly basis, is overwhelming.


Social media’s reach expands into professional development. So much so, that the volume of free online resources continues to expand, and although formal traditional learning and development courses remain valuable. We now have a vast amount of informal, online training that many organisations use in their professional development calendars.


Many professionals now seek to increase their competency pulling information from their personal learning networks or PLNs. This may be industry contacts or representatives whom they follow on LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, or even Clubhouse.


PLNs can be expanded by social media, as it holds the capability to extend an individual’s reach to enhance their professional growth.


Ignoring the benefits of utilising social media to develop or maintain professional relationships runs the risk of becoming archaic in the modern age. Especially in what has now become an increasingly digital way of living, it’s difficult to ignore the benefits.


In this digitally savvy and ever-changing environment there is a critical question: What level of social media usage is beneficial for professional growth?

While some may not believe this to be the case, every professional has their PLN. A personal learning network basically consists of a group of relationships formed by various means, that typically access and incite to information concerning professional and personal development.


The majority of our personal learning network relationships are with individuals that we are already familiar with; often people we’ve met and tend to stay in touch with. Nevertheless, due to an influx of technology, we are no longer limited to creating PLNs within our immediate locale, or from conferences we’ve been to.


Nowadays its increasingly possible and often quire practical to utilise social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to increase our connections to remain plugged in to international sharing and information networks. By utilising these digital resources, we has the effect of increasing the effectiveness and reach of our PLN. We can leverage social media to create a cooperative environment by developing conversations and fostering contributions.


For most people, they log onto their social media platforms and discover one of their friends or followers have shared an article that relates to their chosen profession and industry. This article is read, liked, and then shared with the rest of the network. The next day, the shared article has received a lot of engagements, which then provides our professional with a discussion topic for their workplace. The ensuing discussion is an avenue for professional development and social media has been a drive for that development.


If you are interested in discovering how you can explore your Personal Learning Network on social media, you simply have to follow the recommendations below:


First, begin by creating an online presence on your selected social media sites. When you do this, take the time to explore the information sharing and network resources. Select and join a group that is related to your chosen industry. It is important that you whittle down your chosen focus as this helps to filter out the clutter and provide you with a steady stream of related information.


When utilising social media, you have to do so responsibly and use your chosen social media platforms to its maximum potential.


This is perhaps the most recognisable social network for the professional. It was created to be the official social network strictly for professionals, with over 700 million members consisting of organizations, groups, companies, and individuals.


The best way to leverage this platform for maximum utilisation is to complete your profile and ensure that it is professionally oriented. Having a professional-looking headshot as a profile picture can go quite a long way. Be willing to be generous to others when offering endorsements and recommendations. It is important that you do this for individuals that you know. You should also be willing to take credit for your accomplishments.


Connect with professionals linked to your chosen industry by sending unique connection requests. Discover and join groups created around your industry or particular interest. LinkedIn also offers a free publishing platform that enables its users to create professional posts that showcase their expertise. Create content and share it across your network. It is an open secret that LinkedIn is the best place to discover talent and preferred work opportunities.



YouTube is the world’s number one video-sharing platform, developed in 2007  with over 2 billion users logged-in each month. The video-sharing platform has a partner program with over 100,000 partners derived from over 20 countries. It is estimated that 500 hours’ worth of videos are uploaded each minute, and while YouTube has gained popularity in recent times for cute cat videos, there is a vast library of instructional topics available. This library size makes it the best interactive tool for professional growth and development.



Twitter is a social media platform that sells itself as the greatest link to the happenings around the world. To this effect, it has over 350 million active users each month. There are a number of ways that Twitter can be utilised for personal development. Nevertheless, the only way to effectively use the site is to understand it and the language used on the platform. There is a bit of a learning curve with the social network, however, it is only a matter of time before you are familiar with terms like avatar, hashtags, promoted tweets, Timestamp, retweets, and others.  Your professional development via twitter will constitute active participation around and information derived from a particular topic.



The world’s largest social media site has over 2.5 billion active users each month. This amounts to it having one-third of the world’s population visiting its site. Facebook has taken the time to introduce a vast range of professional growth tools over the course of its existence. Some of these tools are Events, Business pages, or Facebook Groups and every one of them is equally useful. Facebook and its tools provide an avenue for professionals to communicate with experts, spread new ideas, develop new relationships, foster contacts, and attempt a different line of thought. The Events feature enables you to remain informed about learning opportunities within your vicinity.


Given how truly global the world’s economy has become over the years, it would be unwise to limit your network to local connections. You have to understand that your success as a professional is dependent on your ability to utilise numerous technological aids, mobile, and social media platforms to increase the reach of your Personal Learning Network.

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