Career Counseling with Social Media

Social media is becoming more mainstream and can be a useful tool for Career Counselors. What does it mean?

If you’re even remotely computer literate you’ve likely heard of “social media.” What does it mean? Wikipedia lists the definition as:

Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.

Though not technically part of the definition, this implies on-line services and systems. Traditional media, such as print and broadcast (radio, television, etc.)  is one-way and can’t offer much interaction. Social media provides a cheap, often free, way for the Career Counselor to communicate directly with interested persons. What’s more, information and answers can be indexed and searched later. A Google search on re-enlistment issues will bring up relevant sites, and potentially lead Soldiers with questions to you.

Social media options include blogs, media sharing (pictures, videos), networking sites (Facebook, Myspace) and others. Any site or service that allows you to post info, answer questions and otherwise interact with others is social media.

Like any other buzz-word compliant offering, this is no magic wand. Blogs are a good example. A company in the late 1990’s might have spent tens of thousands of dollars (not counting development and installation costs) on a Content Management System that wasn’t as powerful as WordPress, which can be set up and used completely free of charge today. The cost of entry is diminished but the blog (or other tool)  is useless if not used. Making regular, topical posts, answering questions, and weeding out spam and irrelevant comments on an on-going effort takes a little commitment. A blog is a shiny toy that quickly sits and collects dust if it isn’t used and nurtured over time.

Social media can be a great way to generate leads and help other Soldiers, but like any tool, takes a little planning to get right. Future posts will discuss some strategies.

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