Failure to have a significant and notable presence on social media is a cardinal sin. If you want to advance in your career, be known as an expert or thought leader, and portray your ambition, you have to embrace social media.
Active social media platforms
Aim to post something on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ daily. You can also check in several times a day to “Like,” comment on, and share things that other people post.
Be very clear and precise with your language, and as eloquent, enlightening and engaging as you can. Eliminate any political and religious commentary as, unfortunately, we are still in a discriminatory society. Take a few minutes to proofread your posts carefully, and read them out loud to be sure you’ve typed what you meant to say.
Share links to blog articles, websites, newspaper stories, etc. that are pertinent to your area of expertise. I call this cross-pollination – bringing the web together and fortifying your area of expertise. An easy way to discover this content is to create a Google Alert for specific keywords. Set the Alert to email you every day with the best resources.
Add your own thoughts about why you think this particular resource is valuable, continuing to market yourself as an expert. Then ask a probing question about what people think, to engage them in conversation around the topic and further express your thought leadership.
Important: Always reply when someone mentions you or comments on something you’ve posted! Social networks are designed to be social.
Along with actively posting and replying, also focus on building a targeted network across all the platforms. Start linking with influencers such as executive recruiters and senior executives in the companies where you want to work. Look at what they like and share. Make comments on their posts or add follow-up comments to their comments. This is one avenue to get yourself on a hiring influencer’s radar screen.
Building relationships on LinkedIn
Be sure to send personalized introduction requests – no default generic emails. Take the extra time to write a thoughtful, eloquent and captivating message.
When you receive connection requests on LinkedIn, think twice before automatically accepting. Some recruiters actually ask, “How do you know so-and-so?” You don’t want to connect with everyone. Choose to make connections specific to your career goals.
From your Invitations page (desktop view only) you can click a drop-down menu next to the Accept button for the option to “Reply, don’t accept yet.” Open a constructive conversation about the value you each bring to the relationship.
Static social media platforms
Aside from the top four active sites mentioned earlier, there are other static social media platforms where you want to have a presence, but you don’t necessarily need to update your profile on these sites as often to optimize your Google footprint. Examples of static social media websites include: About.me and Flavors.me.
Even if you’re not actively posting to Google+ (and I recommend you do), be sure you’ve set up a profile on the world’s most used search engine. Why wouldn’t you?
Keep these static sites updated every 3-4 months with new photos, announcements or other details, and certainly when your job situation changes.
3 social media warnings
- Don’t drop off the social media planet once you get a job. People will look for you and expect you to keep posting on a regular, consistent schedule (as you should be). Otherwise it’s obvious you’re just showing up when you need something from them.
- Be sensitive to the readers in your particular demographic. You can badly damage yourself by being foolish with what you post.
- Have a clear strategy for your social media participation. Think twice before posting and always ask yourself, “Does this reflect what I want people to think about me?”