So much has been written and said about whether social media brings enough return on time invested.
The key to getting value is choosing a few platforms and leveraging them well. We can easily get consumed and overwhelmed by dabbling in too much social media , and making an impact with none.
Running my business is similar to running an executive job search campaign. I tell my c-suite clients that, just as I do, they need to think of themselves as a company of one – Brand You – and determine what differentiates them from their competition, then promote that unique value they offer.
Using social networks and social media helps you (and me) uncover opportunities, build community and brand evangelism, make connections with potential employers’ hiring decision makers, and demonstrate your thought leadership and subject matter expertise.
In my opinion (and that of just about any career professional), executive job seekers MUST get involved with LinkedIn, at a bare minimum, just to keep pace with their competitors in today’s job market. But is that one channel enough? How many are too many? And how much time should you spend on each?
It’s all about creating a realistic strategic plan, and understanding that social media has a cumulative impact. It takes time for your efforts to gain traction. Don’t expect too much to happen until after several months or more, depending upon how active you are and how quickly you build connections, followers, visitors, etc.
Blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter are my social media of choice – the biggest pieces in my online brand communications plan. Here’s a taste of the ROI value of each for me:
No question, most of my business comes through my blogsites. They are the single best tool for marketing my brand and the services I offer.
By concentrating on SEO (search engine optimization) – using enough relevant keywords in the right ways and places, frequency, and building back links from sites with good Google juice – I’ve been able to maintain strong search results for the keyword phrases that prospective clients use to find careers industry professionals like me.
Because my LinkedIn profile lands at the #2 or #3 spot in Google search results for my name, many click through to my LinkedIn profile and assess whether to do business with me based on what they read in my profile.
And, many of my clients are LinkedIn members who find me through a LinkedIn search of relevant keywords.
I keep LinkedIn working for me by:
- Making my professional headline SEO-friendly – it contains the keywords my target potential clients use to find people like me.
- Integrating my blog posts with LinkedIn, so that new ones are automatically posted to my profile.
- Staying active with the LinkedIn Groups my potential clients are active in.
- Growing my number of good quality connections, so that I have that many more second and third degree connections.
- Keeping my connections updated on my latest activities.
Twitter does require diligence and an active presence, but I happen to really enjoy keeping up with it.
Good networking on Twitter, just as in real-life or on any social media channel, is all about “giving to get”. I’ve built professional friendships with all kinds of people (other career professionals, executive job seekers, social media experts, entrepreneurs, etc.) with whom I’ve formed alliances. We help each other promote our brands and businesses.
I’ve supported my Twitter friends by retweeting them, tweeting their blog posts, spreading the word about them and referring them to good-fit clients. They’ve reciprocated by referring potential clients to me and referring me to their contacts in the media who are looking for career experts to interview and/or to contribute to their publications.
About 10-15% of visitors to my blogsite come from Twitter. Those are people who probably otherwise wouldn’t visit my site. Every visitor is a potential client or may know someone who is.
Here’s some of my Twitter strategy:
- Tweeting several times a day (except Sundays, and sometimes Saturdays).
- Making sure that the 4 most recent tweets in the Twitter stream shown on my blogsites are no more than a day old.
- Integrating my blogging with Twitter, driving more visitors to my blogsites.
You can see that my choice of social media channels and strategy have great value in building my business. Similarly, as an executive job seeker, your own well-planned strategy can help you get the word out about your unique promise of value to the companies you’re targeting and those who have first and second degree connections to hiring decision makers at those companies.
You may not choose the same mix of channels I did. Find what works for you, create a realistic strategy and stay with it until things start to stick. Another benefit to your efforts is that you will be positioned as up to date and social media savvy — qualifications more and more companies are seeking.
You’re probably wondering why Facebook isn’t in my mix. I tried. I just couldn’t realistically manage it, with the others. And I was never a big fan. But many job seekers are having success with Facebook, connecting and networking, so it might be right for you.
And now Google+ is in front of all of us. Like many, I’m still waiting to determine whether it’s worth it to carve out some of my limited time for that.
photo by John-Morgan