Social Media Marketing
By now, any professional with a social media profile knows better than to post those bachelor party photos that seemed so entertaining at the time. But avoiding online disasters is a long way from creating a profile that will be a powerful, positive tool to advance your career.
“All we’re doing online is selling a brand,” says Judy Parisella, who will lead a course on social media marketing this month for the Professional Development Collaborative. “In the case of an individual, the individual is the brand, and this is how they need to sell themselves.”
Judy cautions that online networking is meant to complement, not replace, face-to-face marketing. In today’s economy, however, professionals can’t afford to ignore social media. Widely used sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn can help professionals do such things as keep in touch with people who care about the products or skills they offer; convince potential clients of a user’s expertise through the sharing of unique content; and acquire new opportunities though online recommendations.
Social media can be particularly useful for job seekers. Judy cites a recent survey by Jobvite, an online recruiting platform, that found 92 percent of employers use social media in their candidate searches, and that LinkedIn is overwhelmingly their most important platform.
LinkedIn’s own data, however, indicate that users aren’t taking full advantage of the site’s potential. As of late April, LinkedIn had 433 million total members, about one-third of them in the United States. But the number of unique visitors (different individuals who visit the site, no matter how many times) is 106 million per month worldwide.
Most members probably aren’t aware of all that the site can do. LinkedIn “used to be very static; it was an online resume,” Judy says. “But today it is truly, categorically, an honest-to-goodness social network – and I’m not even talking about paid, premium” features.
A basic, free-of-charge profile can create prospect lists, automatically updated, based on such factors as companies, job titles, industries, location, or job skills, she says. Still, it takes effort, and she recommends spending 10 to 15 minutes a day updating your profile.
“It’s not the case that if you build it, they will come…. you have to work it,” she says.
For her course at the Professional Development Cooperative, Judy expects most of the participants to be age 45-55 — people who probably don’t see themselves as members of the hashtag generation. But Judy recalls that when she was swept up in the recession of 2009, she didn’t have a LinkedIn profile herself. Now, she owns a cloud-based marketing firm, JP Marketing, and is listed on LinkedIn’s ProFinder service.
“Baby boomers aren’t digital natives. We’ve had to learn this,” Judy says. “The same way our kids are trying to force us into [social media] is what we tried to do with our parents and the remote control on a television. Don’t overwhelm yourself and think you have to get on every platform. Select one and just do it really, really well.”
“Social Media Marketing for Your Business, Your Practice, Yourself,” takes place Friday, July 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Career Source, Cambridge, 186 Alewife Brook Parkway, 3rd Floor. Cost is $55. For information or to register, visit www.pdcboston.org.
Dean Inouye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org