Why Aren’t You On LinkedIn, Ladies?

feature_photoI am a confessed social media junky. I maintain several social media profiles, pages, groups, and communities.  I like being social, I like making new friends and I like sharing my thoughts with people who “get it.”

I keep in touch, cheer my friends and family on from the side lines and share exciting milestones in real time, all the time. Am I an over sharer? Probably but, I am not alone.

A 2013 published study by the Pew Research Center says

Historically, women have been especially avid [social media] users. Between December 2009 and December 2012, women were significantly more likely than men to use social networking sites in nine out of ten surveys we conducted.

Consider Pinterest, a visually driven social platform, with a 70 percent female user base. Pinterest drives more business referral traffic than Google +, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.

It’s a woman’s social media world and I am a powerful, driving force as a social media user. I am influencing and being influenced by, an infinite circle of people.

I use these platforms to advocate, raise awareness, funds and followers for causes near and dear to me. In fact, there are thousands of women like me, powerful motivators, advocating for others.  I am impressed but not surprised by the Pew Research stats.

What did surprise me was the disproportionate number of men v. women who are actively utilizing the professional networking site LinkedIn. With 24 percent of men compared to only 19 percent of women.  I wondered why the disconnect? I am an avid LinkedIn user and I have grown meaningful connections from it.

We clearly dominate many other social media networks, what’s different here? Why aren’t more women applying the same social savvy professionally?  It turns out, women hate advocating for themselves. At least women who spoke to Emily Amanatullah, assistant professor of management at the University of Texas.

In her simulated experiment on “Why Women Don’t Ask for More Money” women who spoke with Amanatullah asked for an average of $7,000 less than men. But when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much money as men.

When women negotiated for themselves, they asked for an average of $7,000 less [than men]. But when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much money as the men.

Sadly, my own experiences reflect these findings.  To the point where I must question whether companies were deliberately paying me less because I’m a woman or because I negotiated myself out of a higher salary.

With this realization, I vowed to never under sell myself ever again. The key is learning how to advocate as fiercely for me as I would someone dear to me.

Which brings me back to LinkedIn, a place for me to represent my experiences, in my own words, through the content I choose to share.quick_tips

It took me some time to warm up to the idea of “professional socializing” but, my profile has become the perfect starting point for colleagues and clients to get to know me. If you don’t currently have a profile create one here.

If you do have a profile but it’s feeling stale, here are five habits to help you grow your connections.

Be an active participant: We are all adults, we know how this works, making friends takes time and effort. Check into your profile several times a week, read what your colleagues are up to and nurture your relationships.

Don’t be afraid to show off a little: Whether it’s a promotion or volunteer work, be proud to share your achievements.  Just be sure to do so with grace and humility, no one likes a bragger.

Join groups, expand your network: My favorite thing about LinkedIn are the groups. Through them, I have “linked up” to a wide variety of seasoned professionals and learned all sorts of new things.

Share your knowledge:  Finding your voice is always a challenge. Be professional but more importantly, be yourself. Whether you run a small business at home or a Fortune 500 company, share knowledge that’s unique to you. This will attract those in need of your expertise.

Use it deliberately: Like all social networks, LinkedIn can be a time suck if you don’t set your parameters and use it accordingly. Focus on your goals for using this tool to advance your professional network.

My goals are to grow my connections, expand my knowledge base, and build my professional portfolio. I log-in everyday with those objectives in mind. Some days are more productive than others but consistency is critical.  As a woman it’s important for me to recognize the power in shared experiences and the capability of social media to connect me to those with similar strengths.

I hope this post helps you advocate for you and take the leap from kind of satisfied with your job, to completely in love with your career!

Connect with me and share your own tips for growing your network!



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