The job market has changed, and social media has become a part of it. I will say that Millennials are at an advantage because they grew up using social media. Other generations may not be so warm to the idea about social media and careers.
As many more people move into the “gig economy,” it’s important to understand how social media can help. The gig economy refers to short-term, freelance and contract work. Studies have shown that in fewer than 5 years, almost half of the U.S. workforce will be a part of the gig economy. That means workers have to advocate for themselves and use all the tools at their disposal to continue to find employment.
Social Media as a Tool for Finding Work
In today’s world, social media is one of those tools necessary for finding work. Even if your expertise is not related to marketing or technology, employers today want to understand your social footprint. They want to know that you are going with the times and the easiest way to demonstrate that is by actively being on social media.
I know there are employers who actually ask people for access to their social media accounts as part of the vetting process. I don’t like to do business that way, but I have said that if you’re not showing up on Google, you don’t exist.
At a minimum, you want to have a Facebook account. You’re welcome to set your privacy tight and not have your profile appear on a Google search, but by having a Facebook account, you’re demonstrating that you are social. You’re showing that you are communicating, “social”, and understand the basics of social media. Remember, many brands like their employees, freelancers and team members to be ambassadors for them.
- If you want to go really get out there, then make sure you have active Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and most definitely a LinkedIn account. You’re missing out if you’re not active on LinkedIn. Join groups, post interesting third-party articles and engage in social media dialogue.
- Frequency for posting and tweeting is part science and part art. The bottom line is that you have to be active. Being active means you’re posting daily. There are great social media management tools that are free to use. Queue up three posts to send (morning, noon and night) to your followers.
- If you’re part of the gig economy or looking for work – let people know! Millions of people have found leads as freelancers, contractors and employees through social media. And, if people comment, respond. Be active. Create posts related to your expertise and professional knowledge.
- I know I don’t need to say it, but keep it professional. Every single time you post, think about it becoming part of a deposition in a lawsuit. Remember, even if you have what you think is a secure account in terms of your privacy, nothing is secure in the digital age. Anyone can share, take a screenshot or get into a free-for-all (trolls) with you.
- Social media is great for thought leadership. See people who are aligned with your professional interests and engage. Make comments consistently. Don’t sell yourself to them. I’ve seen too many of those and they don’t work. Remember no one likes to be sold to. However, demonstrate your expertise and professional chops in well thought-out comments.
I recognize that promoting yourself may not come easy. However, jumping in and just doing it is always the best strategy in getting comfortable. Social media has become a powerful tool in our world. Use it to your advantage for your career.
Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: How to Dominate Your Fundraising to Create Your Success” (Free Digital Download)
© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.