Social Media – Have a Clear Purpose

The following is the third in a series on social media.

Many people think they’re going to get business from being on social media sites. While you can get business from your online activities, this shouldn’t be your ultimate purpose. Rather, your purpose should be to make people aware of who you are by sharing your expertise.

Any business networking site is a place for you to give, not just to get. So to get business from your social media activities, you have to contribute meaningful content. You can find many groups to belong to that have strong, relevant conversations going. If you post something in the discussion that’s smart and useful (good content), then chances are someone will ask to connect with you. Now you have one more person to share your message with.

Other examples of good content are asking thought-provoking questions, posting a motivational quote, and sharing a business tip. No matter what you post, if you get a reply, acknowledge the person for their feedback or contribution. Just as you can’t take people for granted in the brick and mortar world, you can’t take them for granted in the virtual world either. Everyone who reacts to your content is a potential relationship and you need to treat them as such.

When you’re replying to a question someone else poses, you want your answer to be in that first page that comes up. That way anyone who replies or scrolls after you will see your photo and business information, as most people go to the start of the conversation and read several responses before they dive in. With that said, pay close attention to what the question is and don’t answer anything capriciously. Always remember that your reply is posted forever. Make it work for you. Make it count.


Dear Jean:

In my job-hunting research, I keep seeing that I need to “network.”  I know what this means, but I have no clue how to do it.  Where do I start?


Networking for a job is making it easy for the people you know to help you find job leads.  To network, all you need to do is make everyone you know aware that you are searching for a particular job. They, in turn, can keep their ear to the ground for a job that might match your needs.

Have some inexpensive business cards made up with your recent contact information so you can give your cards to people you meet.  If you are within three feet of them give them a card. On the card, you can even include your area of expertise. “Supply Chain Management,” “Legal,” “Administration,” or whatever your specialty is.

To get warmed up to networking, start by talking to the people you know:  Your family, friends, neighbors, cleaners, barbershop, beauty shop, mechanic, etc.  Be specific about what you want in a job and what you have to offer an employer.  Ask them to get the word out on you. Most people won’t, but some really will! Make a list of everyone who will take your call:  Former co-workers, former classmates, neighbors, parents of your kids friends, people you volunteer with, people you go to church with, professionals you use – doctor, dentist, attorney, accountant, investment person, etc. – literally anyone you can think of who will take your call.  Write down their name and phone number and call them right away.

Don’t forget to find out about the reputable staffing and search firms in your area. Pick the top five and fill out an application (applications are taken mostly online) and make an appointment to see them once you establish what you do matches the kinds of people they place.

Next, contact any business associates you have who might be willing to keep an eye out for you.  A good way to do this is to write a quick postcard or email asking for their help in finding your specific type of job.  Action is key. The more feelers you put out the more leads you’ll get.  Job fairs are designed for networking. Be sure to take your resume to this type of event.

Social Media Networking business sites are good too. There are many of them and recruiters often ask to be introduced to you if you have the skill set they are looking for. Chose two or three of the most popular and you will have another place to talk about your work history. On LinkedIn there is a place for “summary” and there you will have a chance to summarize your experience and mention what type of position you’re seeking.

Remember who you contacted by keeping a list and check back with them periodically to let them know you are still in the market.  Keeping your network looking for you saves you a lot of legwork and can be very successful in finding openings that are not being advertised; many of the good positions aren’t advertised.

When you find your new job, it is courteous to let your network know, especially those who have given you a lead or given your resume to a friend.