7b: Tailoring Accomplishments for Social Media

I’ve listed social media right after networking because social media is a form of networking (and is, in fact, sometimes called “social networking”) and because your approach to touting accomplishments in social media should be similar to what it is in networking situations.

Posting about accomplishments has become a standard practice in the major social-media venues – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Some people communicate their successes in these venues gracefully, while others are quite annoying. I have a Facebook friend who clogged my feed with constant posts about all the wonderful things he did and all the recognition he was receiving for them. As you can guess, his posts fell into the annoying category. He’s still my Facebook friend, but I changed my settings to “hide” all his posts from my feed. Now I don’t have see his boastful announcements anymore.

Why should anyone consider touting accomplishments in social media – and just how do you do it gracefully? Publicizing your successes can help you establish your reputation as an expert in your field. After all, if you’re having achievements and results, you must know your stuff, right? The practice also helps you manage your career, notes Charlotte Weeks, CEO, Weeks Career Services, adding, “you’ll remain top of mind, which will increase your chances of opportunities coming to you.” Social-media strategist Phillipa Kiripatea agrees: “If you’ve won an award related to your business or are in the media or have been interviewed by a reputable person, or have been asked to speak at a conference, let your community know!”

Humility, moderation, and letting others speak for you are the watchwords experts advise. As career trainer Bob McIntosh writes: “‘I just won best employee of the month. Woot, woot, wooot!’ is different from writing: ‘It was an honor to be acknowledged for my work in retail management.’ The second points out how the person’s superiors acknowledge her accomplishment, not how she touted her award in a bragging way. The differences are small, but the second person is more appreciative of her achievement.”

Kiripatea’s sample post reflects similar humility: “Wow, I can’t believe it! I’ve just been nominated for a business award! Fingers crossed with me that I win.”

Unwritten norms guide the broadcasting of accomplishments in the social sphere. “With Twitter you can post numerous times, Facebook a few, and Linked In the least,” says wellness coach and health/fitness author Kevin M. Norris, noting that “Linked In does have a section contained in your profile to list accomplishments.” Flouting these norms, Norris notes, “may leave a negative impression or dismiss your accomplishment.”

Praise from others for your accomplishments often has much greater impact than what we say about ourselves, as personal leadership and life strategist Paul A. Coulter, observes. “Include the praise you received from others about big changes that made a difference in their lives as a result of their work with you,” Coulter says. “People are less interested in your accomplishments and more interested in stories or successes others have had that relate to outcomes similar to what they are seeking.”

Noting that “recommendations from others’ mouths are a great way to talk about yourself,” Coulter used me as the centerpiece of a sample post:

Katharine’s blogs have changed my whole perspective. Her wit and ability to touch my heart shocked me into an awareness of a me I didn’t know existed. She’s become my new role model and my catalyst to a new life! Katharine the Great is great! Check her out at ….

LinkedIn offers additional opportunities for others to sing your praises – in its Recommendations feature and the newer Endorsements.

Consider adding a dimension to your social-media post or tweet that makes it just as much about your reader as about you, such as Norris’s suggestion to “include a relevant link or blog post with your accomplishment that can give the reader some value.” Communications consultant Michelle Auerbach adds, “give them help, hints, downloads, a laugh, access to part of your book, whatever it is you have to offer. No one really wants to hear you toot your own horn if all that is in it for them is a sore ear.”

Here are additional resources on touting accomplishments in social media:

  • “Bragging on Social Media: Four Ways to Avoid Oversharing,” by Forbes Contributor Jessica Kleiman, http://tinyurl.com/cs55sup
  • “How To Become Authoritative By Sharing What You Are Accomplishing,” by Clark T. Bell on ClutchFuse, http://tinyurl.com/cjbo96s