Social media to survive and thrive

This article first appeared in The Feel At Home in The Hague Magazine, 2014 Winter edition, a publication of www.thehagueonline.com

Have you been making the most of social media to help you survive and thrive in a new country?You may be planning your move to another country, could already be there, or even possibly be starting to feel at home in The Hague or another location.

Here are five tips to ensure you are making the most of the many social media tools out there.

1.  Further your career

One of the first steps in becoming an expat can begin on LinkedIn.  Keeping your profile up to date with your skills and experience up to date will put you in a stronger position to pitch for positions overseas. Some people pursue their relocation dream before they have secured a job in the new location and LinkedIn can help you find work in your new location as soon as possible.  Job listings on LinkedIn are a great resource for keeping to keep an eye on the type of positions available, the number of how many people are applying and even the type of candidates you may be up against.  Twitter is an underused social media tool that you can also use to improve your online professional profile, research and connect with potential employers and interact with recruitment agencies.

2.  Find the information you need

A smooth transition from one country to the next can be made immensely easier with the right information at your fingertips.  This is where social media excels, in bringing together literally millions of people in your current or new location to share knowledge and experience.  Google is a great start, but Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, online forums and blogs are also treasure troves of information. Expat organisations often have a presence across all the major social media channels, as well as their own websites with almost everything you could possibly need to know.  From finding a place to live, how to register with a doctor, get the best dental care or enrol your children at a school. Even, if you have even onlyjust basic social media skills, theyour answers to your questions could be just seconds away.

3.  Make new friends

Exploring a new city can be a lot more fun with friends. Though many people can be shy at first, making friends can be made easier via social media .  Particularly in The Hague, a city just burstingoverflowing with expats, you are sure to find someone who speaks your language and shares your interests. Facebook and Twitter offer the opportunity to connect with others online first. Hague.  Once you have had read through or initiated some conversations online and feel comfortable, it is a group of like-minded people, you couldan attend an event – a great way to make friends without any pressure.  On the other hand, if you’re looking for something

4.  Keep in touch with family

If you have relocated far from family, social media can help the distances seem smaller.  Regular video chats on Skype, reading updates on Facebook, sharing photo files you’d rather keep more private on Dropbox and using mobile apps such as What’s App, can help you keep in touch with family as often as you like.

5.  Buy and sell belongings

Many relocating expats use social media channels to buy and sell belongings.  You can easily lighten your load at an old location and make some spending money, then later pick up what you need for your new home.  Apart from the major websites such as marketplaats.nl, there are a number of very active Facebook groups where departing expats often offer high quality furniture and belongings at a bargain prices.

Renee Veldman-Tentori is a social media trainer who has helped hundreds of individuals and organisations worldwide to make the most of the power and potential of social media.