Determining how much time to spend on social media for job search depends on a lot of things. Mostly it has to do with how much time you can realistically devote to it.
Let’s say you have 3 or 4 hours a day to spend purposefully working on your social media channels. And let’s say you’re doing things for those 3 or 4 hours that will actually help you. You’ll probably benefit more than those who plug in only an hour or two a week.
When I say “benefit”, I mean that you’ll likely increase engagement with your brand and stay top-of-mind with more people. You’ll extend your reach to include more people. That means you’re likely to be more open to more opportunities.
But even if you’re currently unemployed, you may not be able to invest a few hours every day on social media.
And, frankly, you may not WANT to be on social media that much every day.
Social media may be bad for your mental health.
According to Lindsay Holmes, Senior Wellness Editor at HuffPost, spending too much time on social media can take its toll.
“There might be a sweet spot when it comes to the amount of time you spend on social media. Keeping your use down to just 30 minutes a day can lead to better mental health outcomes, according to research being published in December (2018) in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
There is something to be said for limiting social media while still being realistic about the fact that you’re never going to ditch it entirely.”
Author Tish Harrison Warren noted in an article discussing the harmful effects of social media:
“I used to think I could have a strong online presence and still have a rich life offline. I thought I could multitask, toggling seamlessly between the online and material worlds. But every hour, minute or second I spend online is an hour, minute or second that I’m not cultivating something — a relationship, a quiet moment, a connection with nature, a chore, a passing conversation, a daydream — in the physical, analog world.”
Social media has proven to be particularly harmful to children and adolescents. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, recently issued a warning about this.
But social media can have a negative impact on people of all ages.
You know this if you’ve ever been swept up in a negative conversation stream on Twitter or another social network.
But you need to have an online presence and use social media for job search.
It’s unlikely these days that you’ll be able to land a good fit job without having a strong online presence, so that people sourcing candidates like you will find you and what they need to know about you online.
And you’ll need to use social media (and that includes email) at least somewhat.
In particular, job seekers need to have an active presence on LinkedIn.
But over the past few years, LinkedIn has become more of a chatty place to discuss many things other than career and job search. So you can find yourself spending (or wasting) time reading people’s personal posts instead of using the site more purposefully for job search.
“LinkedIn has been trying to encourage content that will keep users engaged on the site: Last year, LinkedIn started a creator accelerator program to recruit influencers. A spokeswoman for LinkedIn, Suzi Owens, said it was rolling out new tools and formats for posting, as well. In the past, LinkedIn influencers were often “thought leaders,” like business pundits or executives who post advice to millions of followers. More recently, content creators from TikTok and YouTube have also joined LinkedIn.”
The thing is, most executives job hunt under cover. That is, they’re employed and don’t want their employer to find out they’re looking.
When you’re employed, you’re lucky if you have any time for social media.
The good news. Even spending only about 30 minutes a day, or even every other day, can have a huge impact, if you do it right.
One of the main reason such a small amount of time can work is because so few of your job-seeking competitors are likely doing ANYTHING on social media.
Have a mindful approach to social media for job search.
Even if you only use social media for job search, it’s very easy to get sidetracked and wander off and get sucked into unpleasant territory.
But there are things you can do to avoid its harmful effects.
Mental health experts offered strategies to engage with social media in a healthier way and limit harm:
Notice what makes you feel bad.
Be intentional about the accounts you follow and the videos you watch. Avoid the negative voices and be willing to unfollow or block them, when necessary.
Consider time boundaries and limiting notifications.
Charge your phone outside the bedroom at night. Don’t use it an hour before bedtime and generally set tech-free times of the day, when you put your phone out of reach. Make family mealtimes be free of devices.
Experts also recommend that people turn off notifications that ping them when an account they follow is updated. You can also delete social media apps from your phone and use them only on your desktop or laptop computer. That could reduce the chances of coming down with a bad case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
How much you use social media depends on your plan.
The key, no matter what your circumstances, is to have a personal marketing plan that’s realistic for you, and that focuses on things with the best ROI.
But, before you do anything, make sure you have robust profiles on all of your social media channels.
- Get your personal brand messaging in there.
- Tell your story.
- Generate chemistry.
- Differentiate your unique value.
- Showcase your good-fit qualities.
Start by defining your personal brand and creating content that supports the value you offer.
Use that content to build out your social media profiles.
And, don’t forget to create a branded email signature. Like I said earlier, email is social media, too, and a good signature can do wonders.
A bit of advice about email.
I know it’s difficult to do, and you may not be able to because of your job, but try to limit the number of times in a day you check email. You know what a time suck it can be.
And see if you can severely limit or eliminate checking email at all over the weekend. I don’t look at email from around 4 pm on Fridays until Monday morning.
How to Focus Your Social Media for Job Search Personal Marketing Campaign
Executives often ask me which social networks to use, how many they should use, and how they should use them.
I always tell executive job seekers and those who keep up with social media for healthy career management:
If you can manage only one social network, it must be LinkedIn. It’s THE place for executive job search and career advancement. If you don’t have a strong presence there, your target employers will wonder whether you’re up to date with the digital age. And you need to be active there, just to keep pace with your job-seeking competitors who ARE active there.
Beyond LinkedIn, if you can carve out the time, consider adding in Twitter, Facebook or other social networks. As with LinkedIn, I’m referring only to your professional usage of these sites. If you use them for personal reasons, don’t count that in your job search personal marketing plan.
And, if you’ve been using these sites for personal stuff, make sure there’s nothing there that will hurt your candidacy or tarnish your personal brand. If so, take it down.
Also, if you can’t find the time to post regularly to these channels, it’s probably better to pass. Merely putting up a profile and forgetting about it is not such a good idea.
Think about the recruiters and other hiring decision makers landing on your neglected, ghost town Twitter stream. If it contains no tweets or hasn’t been updated in several months, what kind of impression will that make?
4 (relatively) quick and simple ways to use social media for job search
There are a number of approaches you can take for your social media strategy. You can stick with just one of my four suggestions below, or mix things up. And remember: only post clean, positive things. No snark or nasty stuff.
1. Your entire campaign can consist only of commenting on and reacting to other people’s posts.
Follow influencers, colleagues, people who work at your target companies, and others whose radar you want to get on. Look for their posts and choose ones that you can comment on in a way that demonstrates your subject matter expertise.
If you don’t have time to write a comment, even simply reacting to, sharing or liking their post will be of benefit.
Also, join relevant LinkedIn Groups and do the same things with Group discussions.
2. Re-purpose your existing content to create evergreen posts.
This will take a little time initially, but you can then automate everything to post at regular intervals. You won’t have to touch it again.
Use all the content you’ve created (as noted above) to write a series of short posts and/or short videos. Use an app like Hootsuite or Recurpost, and set them to post recurrently on your various channels.
3. Share relevant articles and posts of others.
When you see an article anywhere online that relates to your industry or subject matter expertise, share it on your social media channels. Write a little blurb to go in the narrative section of the post. Write a longer blurb if you have time. Or don’t write anything, just share the article. And don’t forget to tag people and add hashtags.
4. Write your own timely updates about various things of interest.
- share industry/occupation news
- share company-specific news
- promote yourself
- promote people in your network
- share infographics
- add photos and other images
- share stats
- ask a question
- share tools and resources
- share quotes and other motivational material
Things you can do to expand your social media presence
These are things to tackle beyond my suggestions above, when/if you have the time.
Use all the content you have created to populate other online profiles and build more web pages associated with your name. Having that extra content online will work passively for you.
The idea is to build quality search results for “your name”. When people Google you, they’ll find plenty of relevant, on-brand information about you. Candidates with a more robust online presence are more attractive to employers than those with little to no presence online.
These extra profiles and web pages won’t require much attention or action, except for updates and when your search or career focus changes.
Even better, if you’re inclined to do some writing, start a blog of your own. Set up a basic website with a blog, using “your name” or some variation for the domain URL.
If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining your own blog, you can blog right on LinkedIn, with their long-form publishing platform sometimes called Pulse.
Or, you can do both. Run your own blog and then re-purpose your blog posts by adding them to the LinkedIn long-form publishing platform. Simply copy and paste into your LinkedIn blog posts.
Don’t forget to monitor your online presence
Lastly, keep an eye on what people will see when they Google “your name”.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to monitor your online presence/online reputation. Self-Google regularly (like once a week). If you see digital dirt that you can eliminate, you’ll be able to do so before it does too much damage.