Career Lessons From the Instagram vs. Vine Fiasco

Being strategic isn't just for businesses: professionals can also use these tactics to increase their marketability and advance their careers. The Instagram vs. Twitter/Vine debacle is a great example of how companies use strategy to get ahead of the competition. These social media giants are constantly at each other's throats trying to out-do the other with new features and capabilities. We'll examine these tactics and explain how job seekers can use them to get a leg up on the competition.

This entire debacle began when Instagram prevented Twitter from displaying its photos on the micro-blogging site. So, naturally, Twitter responded by introducing a feature that allowed users to apply filters to their photos, much like Instagram. The most recent slap in the face came from Instagram, which launched a video feature that is fully equipped with editing and filtering capabilities, giving Twitter/Vine a run for their money. For those of you who don't know what Vine is, it's an app that Twitter adopted that allows users to capture and share six-second videos. Instagram Video allows users 15-second snippets. To see a side-by-side comparison of the two apps, click here. What has all of this got to do with your job search? A few things.

Know your audience

Instagram knew that it needed to produce a competitive product to Vine's video-sharing feature, because the marketplace was interested and Vine was gaining popularity by the day. So Instagram had to give users what they were asking for -- video capturing and sharing capabilities. Similarly, you want to find out what prospective employers are looking for in a candidate and be that person! A great way to stay connected and follow employers is through social media networks, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You can follow anyone on Twitter, so seek out the companies you're interested in, as well as some key personnel, and begin following them. You should be able to get a decent idea of what the employer is looking for, depending on the content they share on social media. And, by understanding what employers are looking for, you can tweak your dialogue, profiles, and resume accordingly.

Know Your Competition

"The best defense is a good offense." In other words, it's a good idea to gain a thorough understanding of how you stack up to the competition -- education, credentials, experience, etc. An easy way to find all this information out is by taking the PayScale Salary Survey to get a free personalized salary report for your current job, a job offer, or a job you're curious about. There's no better way to evaluate the competition than knowing and understanding your worth and where your credentials place you in a given industry.

Do It Better

Instagram couldn't just replicate Vine completely; it needed to find a way to improve the new video feature and make it appealing to social media users. Therefore, Instagram extended the length of video from Vine's six seconds to 15 seconds, added its famous filter options to video, incorporated image stabilization, and included the ability to edit videos (which is what many loved about Vine). The simple fact is, whether you're employed or job searching, you're not going to get ahead by doing what everyone else is doing, because you will just get lost in the crowd. Job seekers, try differentiating yourselves by constructing a social media strategy to build your brand (you) and get noticed by prospective employers.

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