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TALKING DRUM: Why social media is now your CV!

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She shouted my name. I didn’t hear her calling. She made gestures at me. I didn’t see that, too.

It was not until my sister tapped on my shoulder telling me “the woman is calling you.” It was on September 17, 2016; a graduation day at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). Sister Akos, a lady who operates a chop bar (local restaurant) somewhere outside the campus of GIJ, stood behind a table. She was selling soft drinks.

Indeed, Sister Akos didn’t open her eatery on that Saturday as she said she anticipated a trend that could affect her sales.

“Today, you people [graduating students] will be bringing in your own food so I didn’t open the chop bar,” she said to me.

Although formally uneducated, Sister Akos understands the trends in marketing equally better as the marketing student. This adaptation to marketing trends is the concern of a good friend, Joshua Tigo.

Tigo [his real name] works as the deputy public relations officer of Accra Polytechnic. Whenever we meet and talk about the youth, unemployment and being smart with marketing trends, he brings up the topic of social media having the ability to secure a weary soul a job.

He believes the youth must be smart to know that when you sense a possible failure after begging receptionists to take your application letters, you strategise in meeting the employers themselves.

“Solo, the truth is that most of these employers are on social media with us. They see and read whatever we post or tweet,” Tigo said.

We had met at Manasseh Azure Awuni’s wedding at Aburi in the Eastern Region.

Indeed, Tigo is right. I secured my previous job, before I joined Ghanaweb, through social media. When I woke up from a night’s sleep, last year June, a manager of a media firm had inboxed me on Facebook.

“How are you, Solo? Call me ASAP [as soon as possible] 020***,” wrote the manager.

When I called I was told to meet him at his office, here in Accra, and our meeting got me a job as a reporter cum online editor. Many a time, friends would as well inbox me recommending me to employers.

I was not therefore surprised when a friend once said to me that I am lucky in getting jobs. I smiled. The secret is that from day one I stepped foot at the campus of the Ghana Institute of Journalism; I started pushing myself through the media by filing stories from rural areas. Most importantly, writing became [and still is] my wife and I never failed sharing on Facebook, Twitter and on WhatsApp whatever story I filed or article I wrote.

Writing predominantly on Facebook since 2011, most people associate me with writing. What do people tag you with on social media?

Not long ago, a video of a lady, singing in asking Jesus whether He is aware she was unmarried, went viral on social media. You watched that too, right? I had before that seen a couple of videos from the same lady but that which she shared her frustrations over marriage got people talking about her the more.

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 the lady in question by name Divine Diamond was live in the studios of Accra based Pluzz FM. She accused Hiplife Artist Guru of stealing her song [her video].

Guru, known for sing-along songs, had released a single dubbed “Are You Aware” days after Diamond’s video went viral. He basically used the lyrics and melody the lady did in her video. This was a big news item for bloggers and entertainment pundits. Divine Diamond was trending.

Despite Guru later denying the claim, his manager speaking on the show had admitted they got inspiration from the lady’s video and that they will officially meet her to ‘sort her out.’

But the most interesting twist in the Diamond-Guru saga was when the lady revealed who she really is.

“I am an actress and I have been striving hard enough to get a role in a movie but to no avail,” she said to AM PLUZZ host Sammy Flex.

Diamond said her video was/is actually part of a television series she is shooting with her team. They thought of a plan to sell out their yet to be released series. The idea of recording and sharing short videos on social media popped up.

So, Guru fortunately or unfortunately tapping her melody made her and the video much more popular. Already, I learnt some movie producers have started calling Diamond to take up roles. She did not strip herself naked on social media to gain attention. Diamond rode on her potential and with time doors of opportunities are opening up for her.

I am not a social media strategist but having known the value of marketing one’s self on such platforms, I will suggest some few things to you.

Your profile picture

Most of today’s employers, after interviewing one for a job, would ask for their social media handles [names] and they will take time to read you. I believe your social media profile picture should speak well of you.

Many a time, some people will use guns or display money or such pictures as their profile pictures. No serious employer will recruit a gun-displaying fellow in their reputable organisation. If you cannot use your own picture then find something acceptable to use.

Your content

I would suggest you become very selective in what you post on social media. Jokes are good for relaxation. However, I personally do not subscribe to people posting unnecessary jokes that in itself are not funny. If you, however, aspire to be a comedian then you make your intentions clear so people find space in their busy schedule to read such jokes.

Your content, therefore, must be something you dearly love. If you are a footballer, talk about your passion aside posting about other stuff. You could record your training session on that field and share on social media. It will surprise you who will be watching.

If you are self-employed or an artisan share photos of your products and services to attract more customers and to as well motivate someone somewhere to do same or better.

What you must know is that social media platforms like Facebook make money out of you. The advert you see on Facebook are there because owners of the platform have told advertisers they have millions of people, including you, who will see and click on their adverts. So, your only way out is to also freely post useful content to your friends to gain traction.

talking-drum-authorBy Solomon Mensah
The writer is a broadcast journalist with 3FM 92.7. Views expressed here solely remain his opinion and not that of his organization.

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