You’ve invested time into social networking, but so far it hasn’t produced any results. Is social networking a waste of time? It is if you don’t do it properly. Take a look these mistakes that can sabotage your best social networking efforts:
Being inconsistent with posts: Most people save their social networking for when they have a little extra time. Since we are all busy, this strategy makes sense. However, if it translates into an erratic posting schedule, such as posting nothing for ten days and then adding twelve posts within three hours, then it will not be effective. People want to check your sites to see what’s new, and if you disappoint them with no updates, they won’t bother coming back.
Posts are not interesting or relevant: Before you post anything on social networking sites, think about your audience and ask yourself, “Would they be interested in this post?” For example, if you are posting on a marketing professionals’ networking group, you would probably not post an article about best practices in accounting. When your updates are not interesting or relevant, people will stop reading anything that has your name attached to it.
Shameless self promotion: Do you use social networking sites exclusively to market yourself and your work? Are you openly asking for a job? This is actually a misuse of social networking sites. Of course, these sites are designed for networking and career development, but when you start to sound like a commercial, people will lose interest in your posts (and in you).
Not strategic about making connections: If you are using social networking sites to advance your career, then it is important that you be strategic about it. Make a plan. Who do you need to connect with to achieve your goals? Do you need to make contact with people from a particular industry? If so, then join relevant industry groups. Are you hoping to connect with people from a specific company? Use the search functions to find the right people. Don’t just set up your profiles and wait for the magic to happen.
Profiles not effectively marketing your skills: Do your profiles showcase your most marketable skills and experience? Do they include the keywords that employers use to search for new hires? Do they clearly indicate the type of position that you’re looking for? If not, then you are not using them effectively as a marketing tool.
There is something unprofessional on your sites: Is there a deal breaker lurking on your social networking sites? Is an unflattering photo or an inappropriate e-mail address sabotaging all of your social networking efforts? Take a close look at all of your sites, and ask a friend to be your second set of eyes. Some problems can be well hidden, but still very damaging.
Not having a photo on your sites: While there are many legitimate reasons not to post your photos online, you will find that people will be more receptive to you if you have a profile picture. One clear head shot will make you appear more open and friendly, and will make people more willing to connect with you.
Being all take and no give. Social networking depends on a give and take; you assist people when you can, and ask for help when you need it. If you always ask your network for support and never offer anything in return, people will not want to be connected to you. Ask yourself, what can I offer my network? Am I aware of an available job? Have I recently read an article that may interest them? Make an effort to give to your network as often as you can.
With social networking, it’s not about how much time you spend on it, it’s about the way that you spend that time. Review what you’ve recently posted on social networking sites and try to determine the perception that potential employers may have of you. Do whatever you can to make sure that you are making a positive impression.
(Photo from: Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net)