How to Build a Professional Social Media Presence

Having a strong professional social media presence is important in any field - from marketing to biology. If you are able to communicate your passion or work in a way for people to understand and then build connections through that, employers will see you as a rockstar.

In this article, I will focus on two social media platforms that I feel are the best places to start when it comes to professional social media.


The first and most obvious is LinkedIn.

Create an account on LinkedIn. It’s one of the most established and innovative social media platforms around. You can even do things like upload PDFs to create a portfolio and describe yourself outside of your profile. That being said, please POST; it is so important to post content on LinkedIn! You cannot just be on the platform to get results, you need to be active. My personal goals are to spend just as much time on LinkedIn as I do on Facebook.


But what do you post on LinkedIn besides a job opening?


Well, you’re trying to build connections and land your dream job, so market yourself for that position. The following are potential post topics: events happening in your student org, something new you’ve learned from your internship, research you’re conducting, a service activity you did, a thank-you shout out to someone who has made an impact on your professional career, talk about your major and why it interests you, discuss your dream job… I’m sure you get the idea and can think of some new topics.


A great way to really catch some fire on LinkedIn is to discuss these topics via video! Does that sound intimidating? Good! Your self-confidence and willingness to put yourself out there is a thumbs up from potential employers. Video also allows viewers to build a relationship with you through your content, even if you haven’t met them in person. Video can be shot anywhere at any time - the first one is always the hardest, but once you post it, it only gets easier.


To get captions on your photos, upload the video on YouTube and you can caption it there. Nobody wants to listen to a video on full volume - use the caption tools.  


My second favorite app for professional use is Twitter


Create a Twitter account that is strictly professional. Use a clean profile picture and a cover photo that really demonstrates you working: such as a picture of you doing research or on the job. You can also have a fun photo that describes you: maybe from your time studying abroad or throwing up the W at a hockey game. Make sure to use hashtags and handles in your bio that help explain you and gain traffic to your account.


For example: if you are a life sciences communication major with a passion for the environment and enjoy Babcock ice cream, your bio might read “@UWMadison BS’20 in #scicomm | love the #environment | mitigate #climatechange | catch me @WisconsinUnion eating @BabcockDairy #icecream”


I would start by following at least 200 people, schools or businesses that you want to connect with or admire.


You can search for relevant hashtags via Google search or Twitter. Work tags, links and hashtags into your posts; retweet often and comment thoughtful or helpful messages. You can repost your content used on LinkedIn. Use Twitter to uplift others, not bring people down.


With that, I’d like to throw out a shameless plug for Life Sciences Communication (LSC) 432, a course offered at UW that is designed to get students on social media professionally and build their connections to become social media rockstars in their field. We go over a lot of strategy on how to be the best at social media so that we can help ourselves and others! The course is offered this summer and in the spring.