In the olden days, job seekers responded to ads … in the newspaper. Since then, it’s no secret that sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor have replaced traditional newspapers. And yet, even those are becoming less relevant as more and more job hunters are harnessing the power of social media to land their next job. Recruiters use social media as an integral part of the vetting process, as well as to pluck top talent from existing employers.
Networking remains one of the best ways to land a new job. HubSpot recently reported that 85% of jobs are filled through networking and CNBC reported that 70% of jobs are never publicly announced… Even so, networking has a new competitor: social media.
Recruiters are constantly combing the internet for candidates that fit the role they’re trying to fill. When they find someone, they move in. A Harris poll found that 71% of US hiring decision makers used social media to screen applicants. In fact, that same poll found that 1 in 5 (21%) hiring managers said they would not likely consider a candidate who doesn’t have an online presence.
Creating an online presence is more than posting a LinkedIn profile. In fact, LinkedIn might not be your best bet when looking for a job or hoping to get plucked. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are also great social platforms for those looking for or open to work.
So, what does it mean to become your own social media strategist?
A social media strategist knows which platform(s) to use and how to use them. They have a consistent personal brand across all their social channels. They know what to post where and how to direct recruiters to their “best in show.” They use keywords relevant to the position they want. Social media strategists tell a good story – whether that’s in images on Instagram, boards on Pinterest, or in groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is still leading the pack for job seekers and recruiters. But more industries and professionals are looking elsewhere. You’ll have a greater advantage building a strong presence on the right site. Let’s face it, if your career is image-driven, LinkedIn is just not a good fit. It can’t do what Instagram can do. And those in the food, travel, or events industries need a platform that builds on the excitement of what they offer making Pinterest a better choice.
Here are some tools to start you on your way to becoming a social media strategist.
- Build your personal brand. Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand. Your brand is a reflection of how you promote yourself – a combination of your skills, experiences, and personality. So, the choice is simple, you can curate your personal brand or let it develop organically. Personally, I believe that intentionally creating your own brand and reputation is much more powerful than letting the world create one for you. Allowing your personal brand to grow organically sounds cute, but it may not get you where you want to go. Think about the work you’ve had to put into the many paths you’ve taken to get where you are right now. Curating a personal brand weaves all the paths into one cohesive story. And then tells that story across all social platforms.
If you’re unclear about what your personal brand is, look at where you’ve been and what you’re doing now. Do some soul searching to decide where you want to go. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself: what makes you tick? What do you stand for or stand up to? Once you’re clear, create your personal brand story. According to Chelsea Krost, personal branding expert, your story has three parts: the character, the conflict, and the resolution. The character is you. The conflict is what you’ve been through. And the resolution is how you overcame the conflict. It must be relatable.
- Audit your social sites. This is a relatively easy step but can be incredibly time consuming. The most important part of being a social media strategist is showing the world one cohesive package that represents your brand in the best way on each platform.
Let’s look at Instagram and LinkedIn as an example. Both are professional sites that cater to a distinctive audience. LinkedIn is your online resume. LinkedIn is ESSENTIAL for professionals. Recruiters need a place to cross-reference your vital stats. LinkedIn can also be a great source for networking, writing articles, valuable posting information, or interacting in groups. Instagram, on the other hand, is image-centric. It’s the place to post your work if you’re in a creative field. Use reels to tell your story and use the grid pattern to make your Instagram page pop.
While your social audit, in addition to ensuring you’re telling the same story on all your sites and maintaining a similar look at feel, watch out for these things:
- Are you using the right site for the right purpose?
- If you’re using Instagram, are you using a grid pattern? If not, how can you create one? The aesthetics imply a level of professionalism!
- Does your Twitter account stay on topic or bounce all over the place? How can you fix that?
- Are you active in groups and do those groups weave together a common thread?
Dig deep into each of your social platforms and use the link tree to connect and direct people to your sites. Be descriptive: my CV (LinkedIn), my portfolio (Instagram), my story (Facebook or Pinterest).
- continue the story. Social media needs to be fed. The most important part is consistently posting a similar message. It’s better to post once a week than to post five days in a row followed by three months without a single post. Set up a social media calendar you can live with and stick to it. Make sure your posts are relevant, on brand with the voice, influence and topic you’re positioning yourself as an expert with– and important to your audience.
Here are some ideas of how to feed your social sites.
- Join groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. Engage in group discussions one day a week for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Post the process you use to develop a logo, brochure, or other collateral using the Instagram slideshow feature.
- Create a video (Facebook) or reel (Instagram) about how you overcame a recent obstacle – remember to keep it relevant to your positioning and voice. (Pro tip: this shows potential recruiters your problem-solving skills while at the same time helping someone else in a similar jam.)
- Create an infographic relevant to your career. Post that on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Pinterest.
Set up a schedule to “touch” each site at least once a week. And remember, cross pollinate – what you use on Instagram can be modified for Facebook. Or, better yet, you can connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts and everything you post on IG is automatically posted on FB.
Whether you’re actively looking for a new job or not, use your social sites to tell your story. Be strategic. Make the effort to maintain your personal brand. Whatever you do, don’t forget to show off your personality. People want to work with interesting people … after all, your coworkers will be spending a lot of time with you.