This is another in Richmond Solutions' excellent series of blogs, helping you with all aspects of job seeking. Social media - facebook, twitter, linkedin and others - are becoming increasingly important in the search for work, with linkedin in particular a really useful tool for keeping in contact with old colleagues, making new contacts and staying visible when others are looking to recruit. The most important thing to remember is - if you use these social media you need to use them regularly and well.
'I recently attended a workshop on social media marketing strategies along with a roomful of fellow entrepreneurs, keen to make their mark on cyberspace and attracted by the chance of relatively low-cost marketing. One participant seemed relatively advanced on the subject. He pointed out that you needed to think about your strategy before starting out as any sudden drop off in activity on any particular channel might lead your followers to believe that you had gone out of business.
He had a point. Especially if you are trying to use social media for promotional purposes (be that for a business or to facilitate your job search) you are likely to have a number of followers whom you don't know in person or whom you only know a little. Even if you've kept your circle to friends, I'm willing to bet that many of them would be from former points of your life (e.g. school) and if you reduced the regularity of your postings, they would not be able to verify that you are actually still with us.
However, if you are active on social media for it to be effective you need to be exactly that: active. If you have a LinkedIn profile and hope that it will help you to get headhunted, you will need to do more than fill out your details and leave it there. This is not a static online CV but a living document which needs to be updated and be posted on if you are to remain in the public eye. Not least, updates and postings will put you on the timelines of your followers, bringing you to their attention from time to time. Furthermore, LinkedIn is a system that favours the active.
This is not a license to be like a tweeter I once heard about: who opened up her day with a cheery "good morning" and then tweeted hundreds of times during the day before leaving her followers with her nightly sign off. If you are wondering how she ever got anything done, so am I.
However, while as a personal user you don't need to set yourself a hard and fast strategy for your social media activity, if you are using it to get noticed professionally – and be "alive" on the system, just to keep with my analogy – you need to motivate yourself to do a certain amount of activity each week. What could this be?
- Post a status update on your profile. Are you speaking at an event or about to embark on a new assignment? Then say so. You may even be boosted with messages of support from your followers.
- Use your profile to share newspaper articles and other postings that you like. Ensure, however, that if you are doing this for professional reasons, what you post fits with your overall objectives.
- Promote your blog, if you have one (no idea how I thought of that one...!)
- Make timely adjustments to your profile. For example, update your photo, add to or change your skills and expertise listing as you gain new experiences, revise your summary. You don't need to wait a couple of years until it's time for an overhaul.
- Start a poll or ask a question (which you access confusingly enough through "answers").
- "Like" or comment on someone else’s discussion, whether on their profile or a group.
There are no doubt plenty of other suggestions that could be put forward and perhaps some of my more tech-savvy readers would make some suggestions which might help anyone making their first tentative steps into this territory. And for those of you who are new, don’t worry if your first forays don’t attractive a bevy of "likes" and comments: it will come with time. But you'll never make the most of any of these platforms if you are but a passive observer.'