In my last Secret Life of Engineers post I mentioned that you will need to travel to become a true expert in your field of engineering. The reason stated was, “You can’t expect to become an expert in a particular field from behind a computer – for that you will need to go to conferences and tradeshows, as well as visit customers and industry partners”. Travel is essential to building contacts with industry partners, it also improves networking and strengthens relationships. So how do you know where to travel and who to see? Become so popular in the industry that experts invite YOU!
Seen here: Indium Corporation's Amanda Hartnett learned how to combine travel and social media to become an industry leader.
Some companies will give you all the tools you need to become the go-to industry leader. When you work with your Marketing/Communications department, they can help you write and publish papers, start a professional blog, and use other forms of social media to get your message out to thousands of potential industry partners. The goal is to provide the right content and show other engineers that you are interested in working to discover more about the topic they too are interested in. I’ve found this works out very well, and opens the door to all types of invitations – from presenting at prestigious conferences to being interviewed for publications and even videos. Once you’ve gotten to this point, the networking multiplies as you are referenced in various ways as ‘the thought leader’. You need to be good at what you do first, but social media can take you much further than you had imagined if you do it right.