Using social media to promote career services doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can use what you already know and apply it to social media.
Frank Parsons, considered the father of career development, suggested career practitioners have:
- an accurate understanding of our traits,
- a knowledge of the labour market and
- an understanding of the relationship between the two
Take this information and apply it to creating a social media plan.
- Knowing yourself and the expertise you have to offer will shape what content you share
- Knowing your data and labour-market trends will inform what types of clients you are best able to serve
- Understanding the relationship between yourself and your audience will allow you to clearly explain the value you have to offer your audience/the market
Be yourself. When you’re starting to use social media for your career practice, you want to be professional and polished. That’s what I did. I was tweeting and posting on LinkedIn like a woman wearing a suit in a big office in downtown Toronto. But as I got more comfortable and confident in my posts, I began showing people who I really was. The more they got to know me – my outlook, my sense of humour – the more they engaged with my content. People were liking what I was saying, even if it wasn’t 100% polished and professional, because they could relate to the tips I was sharing. Evolving from polished professional to authentic adviser worked for me. If you’re just starting to use social media for your practice, engaging with online communities through a professional persona might be a good place to start.
Focus. Who do you want to reach? Choose a generic or ideal client you want to engage. For me, that’s Todd, a mid-level executive thinking about a change. Each time I post, I think of Todd. Is what I’m sharing of value to Todd? Would he find this interesting? Would he respond to this content? By focusing my attention on Todd, I stop myself from posting too broadly. Stay focused by asking yourself: Is this content providing value to my target clientele?
Learn it, do it. When you learn something new, implement it right away. Don’t hesitate. Put what you know into practice immediately.
Just learned about Twitter? Send out a tweet.
Figuring out Instagram? Share a story.
Don’t yet know how to share a story on Instagram? Go to YouTube and search: “How to share a story on Instagram.”
The trick is to not fall too far behind.
Spend a few minutes a day or week learning about social media. Here’s your first challenge: Open your phone or your desktop and share one post using the hashtag #careerpro. (Hashtags are a way to sort/find topics on most social media platforms). You might say something as simple as:
- Reading a post about social media. #careerpro
You might also create something more complex like:
- Using #socialmedia to help #Canadians with #careerdevelopment. #careerpro link to post
Whatever you choose to share, remember your audience. Provide your followers with valuable content 90% of the time and use the remaining 10% to promote your career services.
Engage. Don’t be shy. That is, after all, what we teach clients about networking, right? Reach out to people, share your thoughts, tips, ideas, recommendations. Like, comment, tag and talk to people in your online network; be an example to your clients of how to expand your online network. Instead of telling your clients how to network, show them by networking online on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Create an idea bank. It may feel like you do not have time to add social media to your already full calendar. Not a problem. Find a place to jot down your ideas and keep writing every chance you get. You may not be able to dedicate 10 minutes a day to social media, but you can spare a minute or two to jot down an idea. This might be a client question you answered earlier in the day, for example, or an email you received from a colleague – you can repurpose anything you’re already doing into a post or a share. For example, this post was re-purposed from a panel discussion I was invited to be part of at Cannexus 2019 with Ali Breen, Donnalee Bell, Lindsay Purchase and Seanna Quressette on “Career development for our field: A national conversation.”
You don’t have to be the father of career development to share your expertise with the world. Use what you’re already doing to promote your services. Be one of the thought leaders, change-makers, life-changers, advocates, supporters and educators who supports Canadians as a dedicated career professional.