Networking is one of the most successful ways to land a new job. In fact, some estimate that up to 70% of jobs are never posted and referrals make up 40% of all new job offers. It’s common to focus on LinkedIn when you’re trying to grow your network, but your other social media platforms can be just as valuable.
Putting the “network” back in social networking
Social media, at its heart, is all about connections. And that’s all networking is - making connections with other people to exchange ideas, share information and make introductions.
“Always start with who you already know: who already cares about you, who already knows what you know, who already knows the challenges you have and wants to help.” - Kelly Hoey, The Art of Networking
Successful networking starts with who you already know and you already may have family, friends and followers on social media. A few simple changes in how you use your current accounts can help you grow your network beyond just LinkedIn.
Start with a personal brand
Influencers aren’t the only ones with personal brands. Your personal brand represents who you are, your values and what you’d like to be known for. On social media, your personal brand anchors all your posts and the way you communicate. It’s what your social followers “know” you for.
Owning Your Personal Brand
Hoping to boost your personal brand on LinkedIn? Not sure where to start? Watch this session for top tips on developing and perfecting your personal brand.
A personal brand can be as simple as you’d like it to be. Even just updating your headshot, your tagline and planning a couple networking-related posts a week can help position you for success.
Selecting social networks
You may prefer to keep some of your networks personal and use them just to communicate with family and friends. That’s okay! Make these accounts private, but be aware that your name and headshot may still appear if an employer searches your name.
Start by using LinkedIn and one other social account to grow your network. Depending on your industry and profession, some social networks may be better for networking than others.
Facebook and Twitter are great places to share news, updates and links to articles. Instagram and Pinterest are more visual platforms and your posts should be well designed.
Expanding your network on different social media platforms
- Facebook: Facebook Groups are a great way to meet new people with common interests.
- Twitter: Twitter is fast-paced, and it’s a little harder to make deep connections with people. Use the Advanced Search tools to find specific people with common interests or careers that might be helpful in your job search.
- Instagram: Searching hashtags is a great way to find new people to follow. Using these hashtags in your own posts, too, increases the visibility of your account.
- Pinterest: Pin content that’s related to your industry (trends, news, hacks) and as others re-pin these posts, your following will increase.
Three ways to expand your network using social media
These three activities will help you grow your network, no matter which social media platform you choose to focus on.
1. Make new connections
Look for people who are well respected in your industry, and don’t focus just on their following size. People with smaller followings are more likely to respond to messages and comments. When you click follow, the platform will show you other similar accounts you may like to follow, too. This is a good way to find new connections.
2.Create new content
Sharing content helps you grow your personal brand. It also gives others a reason to follow you. Think about what you’d like to be known for, and then share posts and links that support that.
All social platforms favor engagement. If you engage with other content, your own content will be shown to more people. Respond to comments and messages and like and comment thoughtfully on other people’s posts.
Making it personal
Ready to connect personally with one of the accounts you’ve been following? Unlike a traditional “cold call,” if you’ve been engaging with their content consistently for a few weeks, chances are good they’ll recognize your name when you reach out. Whether it’s for advice or an introduction, keep your message short and specific.
📖 Read more: An Etiquette Guide to Cold Reach-Outs
A little goes a long way
It’s easy to put networking on the back burner when you’re not searching for a job. Using some of your screen time each day to nurture your professional network makes it easier to ramp things up when you do need to make a career change. Continue engaging with other people’s content and sharing your own. You may even find out about a great job before it’s shared publicly.
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