“What do you think about smoking weed?” The question catches the young professional off guard – it’s much too private. But the camera is still pointed at him. The journalist peers expectantly at him.
This is a fictional story. But the fact remains that the eight young skilled professionals representing Switzerland at the EuroSkills European Championships in Budapest, September 2018, will grab the attention of the media. To prepare themselves, the group practiced dealing with TV, radio, print and social media at the conference center of the Weggis-based Hotel & Gastro formation in early May.
Simon Kopp and Cornelia Burkhard, media and communications experts, gave insight into appearing before cameras and microphones. Meanwhile, UBS branding specialist Alina Arn touched on the basics of how to score points on Instagram and social media in general. As a partner of the SwissSkills initiative, UBS got actively involved in helping the young skilled professionals succeed.
Instagram — an effective platform
“Instagram is the most effective platform to use to share your passions with others,” explained Arn. It’s a good way to create a community for SwissSkills, the national team of skilled professionals, and for EuroSkills. Not only that, but nowadays as many as 70% of employers check applicants’ social media accounts.
“Profile pictures and short bios create that first impression,” stresses Arn as she went on to advise listeners to maintain a visually consistent identity on Instagram. On such platforms, aesthetics are key. Arn continued by challenging the young people to create fake Instagram accounts and to create posts with pictures or video as well as written text.
Share happiness and passion
“I’d like to share this picture with others but what on earth should I write with it?” asked one participant. “Why is that picture important to you?” asked Arn. “I was really proud of myself that I managed to install a server,” answered the participant.
“Spreading the joy is what Instagram is all about,” Arn concluded. However, it's also worthwhile liking and commenting on other users’ posts: “share the love and they love you back.”
Prepare for media appearances thoroughly
By the end of the day, the Swiss professional champions proved themselves to be absolute media superstars. “I’d like to use Instagram when I'm at EuroSkills,” said Daniel Gerber, an electrician. Now he knows why he should.
“It was very helpful to see myself in a TV interview,” remarked Lea Meier, a decorator. “I’ve given a radio interview before,” stated Philippe Buetschi, a plasterer and drywaller, “but this training showed me how important it is to be thoroughly prepared for media appearances.”
Last but not least, the participants learned that – contrary to popular belief – they don’t have to answer awkward questions. Kopp’s tip for that: “quickly explaining why you don’t want to address a topic is met with more understanding.”
Instagram — how to get followers
Instagram is a social platform on which you can develop a community rather quickly. Alina Arn, branding specialist at UBS, has 10 tips for beginners.
- Profile picture and bio. They are the main focus of your profile. Customize them to reflect your personality and the nature of your account.
- Hashtags. Use relevant keywords that are frequently searched. A minimum of 10 to 20 hashtags is recommended.
- Links. Put a link to your website in your bio.
- Structure. Use line breaks and emojis to break up the text.
- Location. Let the community know where you are.
- Images. Always use the same filters to maintain your picture style.
- Text. Try different text lengths and hashtags. Funny and stimulating texts are the most suitable.
- Variety. Upload videos, as well as pictures, GIFs and boomerangs too.
- Frequency. Five to seven posts a day is ideal. But remember: it's quality, not quantity, that counts.
- Scope. Tag brands, organizations and friends in your posts, and take the time to like and comment on other users’ posts.