Sharing regular content with your professional network is a quick and efficient way to increase your online presence.
Stay fresh in the minds of colleagues and establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise. Content can be shared on social media platforms and discussion boards (e.g., LinkedIn), through your personal website, by direct email to a targeted list of contacts and via internal communication methods (e.g., company newsletter, internal website).
The content shared needs to add value to your network’s day, and be in line with how you want people to view you professionally. This material may include recent articles on new discoveries in your field, thought-provoking editorials, upcoming funding opportunities and relevant job announcements. For example, if you are a climate change scientist you may want to post an article outlining new global carbon dioxide measurements; an editorial calling for policy changes needed to address rising carbon dioxide levels; a funding announcement for a new research program in your area; and/or a link to an open research position within your institution.
How much time should you spend in sharing content? I recommend developing a weekly routine that fits your schedule. My general guidelines are to spend 15–30 minutes a week to check your online profile(s) for completeness (e.g., updating publications); post a link to a relevant article; share a status update on a recent accomplishment (e.g., award); and/or connect with your network by congratulating colleagues or sending a private message to say hello.
I also suggest spending the same amount of time in scanning discussion boards and popular media sites in your field to comment on other people’s shared content or to start your own discussion thread.
The biggest mistake that I see people make in sharing content is simply posting a link on a social media site without any added description. You have to put a little effort into this process by adding a short description of what people will read in the article, stating your opinion on the material and/or posing a question to engage your network in dialogue around the content.
By adding this information, you will compel people to check out the information, which also leads to more visibility if they comment or share your post. Other common mistakes include posting status updates that openly ask your network for job leads and sharing chain posts (e.g., inspirational quotes) that distract from the focus of establishing yourself as a professional in your field.
Donna Kridelbaugh (@science_mentor) is a strategic communications consultant, offering a range of technical communication services to help scientists exceed their professional goals. Learn more at http://ScienceMentor.Me.