Use Social Media To Create A Professional Learning Network


As a busy professional, you know how important it is to continuously grow your skills.  It’s not every day, or even every year that we can get to a conference to grow our own professional learning network (PLN). 

Social media is a great resource for leveraging your professional learning network.  This way you can virtually meet people who will build your knowledge base, and you can benefit from the valuable content that they post.

So, are you ready to dig into some valuable PLN building strategies?

(1) Twitter Chats

The fluid nature of Twitter makes it so easy to have conversations with others.  My long-time favorite was #Bufferchat, which used to happen at 2 times weekly to accommodate different time zones.

They covered topics that have to do with all things in digital marketing, but also with professional life in general.  The questions were posted ahead of time so that you could follow the conversation more easily. 

If you completely missed the chat, you could still read the recaps.  Whichever Twitter chat you join, be sure to connect with people whose ideas you like.  That way you can stay in contact later if you like.

(2) Mining LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be such a goldmine of contacts to grow your PLN.  Think of whatever you want to learn about, and use the search box to find people with that skill set. 

If you find someone with the skills and experience that you are interested in, request to connect with them.  Remember that people are much more likely to pay attention if you make them feel special, so shoot them a note and tell them why you want to connect. 

When they connect with you, request a 10-minute informational phone conversation, and tell them the 3 or 4 questions that you would like to ask them.  If they agree, most people will spend more like 30 or more minutes chatting with you.  These types of conversations can be so helpful for building your professional network.

(3) Blogging

Writing about your professional knowledge is a great way to give others a reason to connect with you and want to chat with you.  When I kept a Wordpress blog, I enjoyed chatting the people who reached out to me as part of their link building strategy. 

I was even able to chat with a few of them, and I was so happy to have been able to meet in person Marina Barayeva of IntNetwork+ after we connected over Instagram marketing ideas, and realized that we were both marketers and photographers. 

While Wordpress offers an impressive amount of plug-ins, if you want a simple blog, there are several great options available.  If you leverage LinkedIn, try keeping your blog on that platform. If you would want to try something else, Medium may be a good option for you.

(4) Social Posting

You may not decide to have phone conversations with the people you network with.  And maybe you don’t want to blog. 

However, posting professionally related content on LinkedIn and Twitter can be a low stress way to establish your authority on a topic, and give others a reason to want to connect with you. 

Using social management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can allow you to set and forget (for at least some time), and to easily repost content that is performing well.

(5) Rinse and Repeat

Professional networking is an iterative process, and should be part of your normal flow of activities while you are actively working to grow your professional learning network. 

Similar to the evaluative process in any research process, decide what worked well, refine it, and repeat what you want to do again.  If you do this, I promise that you will be happy with the results.