by Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)
Many people ask me which social media site I think is the best when it comes to a job search. On the surface, it seems like a logical question. After all, who wants to spend time on sites that aren’t effective? And let’s face it, social media is time consuming.
The problem with the question, however, is that it completely misunderstands social media.
Social media is about marketing.
Most people fail with social media (or at the very least give up trying) because they only see it as a networking tool, a place where they can connect with old friends (Facebook), colleagues (LinkedIn), build followers (Twitter), etc. Although networking is certainly part of it, it’s not the essence of it. Social media is about marketing, pure and simple.
But it’s not your old school MBA program kind of marketing (although I am hoping they are catching up); it’s one that takes your networks and creates communities of influence and engagement that “market” to one another…not in a “sales pitchy kind of way” but in a “value proposition kind of way.” At least that is what social media marketing should be anyway.
Therefore, the social media job search is not about using one particular site.
(It’s also not about becoming a rock star.)
The social media job search, just like social media marketing, is about layering.
Like any good marketing campaign, it starts with a message. Not a slogan…a message. That message is then distributed across social media, but not as advertisement, more like as an ongoing story that recognizes the environment it is in.
For instance, say you are an IT project manager. Maybe you aren’t actively looking for a new job, but you’re starting to get the itch. At the moment, you have a Facebook account that you basically use to post pictures of your kids, a LinkedIn account that’s halfway filled in with connections to some colleagues, and you opened a Twitter account, but you don’t really know what to do with it. Right now, social media hasn’t been anything more than a basic networking tool for you.
Here’s where layering comes in.
You begin by developing your value proposition and personal brand message. In other words, what problems do you solve? What unique expertise do you bring? Think about how you can articulate that, and how you can use the different social media environments to do it.
Now let’s begin with LinkedIn. The first thing you can do is post that messaging in your profile. Then you can write blogs (using WordPress or Blogger), which you can feed into your LI profile, that detail some of your knowledgebase. You can also join groups where you can share your expertise on this subject. Another great option is to upload some presentations that you’ve done that again reinforce your main message.
After that, you take it further and go on Twitter, where you can tweet out links to your blog posts and LI updates. You participate in a chat or two each week that provides a forum for you to share your background knowledge and meet others with similiar interests.
Then you go to your Facebook account, where you look for industry groups you can join. You also find apps that let you upload some of your professional background info in a more casual way (like talent.me). Maybe you go a step further and feed in some images from Pinterest that make jokes about or highlight people like you (techies, organization freaks, etc.). It reminds your friends in a more casual way of the work that you do.
And so on. And so on.
I know…here’s the burning question…does all that lead to a job?
Well, the answer is the same as it is for the thousands of entrepreneurs out there trying to make social media work for them: “It works for some.”
It works for those who have a consistent, clear message and who figure out how to articulate that message, leveraging their communities across social media. It’s a lot of work, but it can work and has worked. But it starts with an understanding of what social media is and is not. And it requires a shift in thinking about marketing and messaging. It also requires a fair amount of research, finding and developing your target market and how to reach them.
It also isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes at least 6 months to build these layers on a basic level, and to build communities around them.
Sounds like a job in and of itself? It is. In my view, it isn’t so much as a job search tool as it is a career management one. It’s something you put in place and keep in place as you move throughout your career.
The ITtechExec Way
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