Question: Several years ago, I set up a LinkedIn account. I don't do anything with it except share an article here and there. I don't think it's working to drive job opportunities to me.
Answer: One of the hardest things to get used to on social media is that it's not just about posting, promoting and sharing, but it's truly about engagement with the people you want to influence. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are called "social networks," because you need to be social to drive results. When you interact and have dialogue with the people you know and the people you want to know, your visibility, reach and impact grow.
Here are my top tips to drive engagement from your social media posts:
1. Have Clear Expectations and Goals in Mind.
Each platform is different. For instance, Facebook and Instagram are more social; LinkedIn is more professionally focused. Use each platform the way it was intended and set your goals accordingly. Are you using Facebook to connect with people you deployed with and leveraging LinkedIn to find a new job? Is Instagram where you show off your hobbies and interests? Resist treating all platforms the same and sharing the exact same content on each site.
2. Know Your Audience.
If you're in a job search, then get specific on LinkedIn about what kind of job, what companies are hiring, who might be attracted to your background and what they care about. Then, tailor your posts to the needs and goals of those companies.
Similarly, if you use Instagram to highlight your outside interests, try connecting with people who share those hobbies and build a greater community. Always consider:
- What does your target audience need from you?
- What do they care about?
- Then post in ways that increase their interaction.
3. Set a Cadence for Posting.
Develop a regular schedule for posting and stick to it. People are likely to engage with content they see regularly, rather than sporadically. You can always change the cadence, and then stick to the new plan.
4. Ask Questions.
Instead of pushing information out to the online universe, draw in your connections by asking them to share their experience, insights, thoughts or ideas about what you posted. Asking questions makes your online connections feel part of a dialogue.
5. Ask for Feedback.
Consider your online audiences as focus groups and ask them to share feedback with you. Want input on your resume? Post it and ask for suggestions. Curious about a career in the creative arts? Ask your network to share their experiences.
6. Challenge an Assumption.
If you do this with the right intention (and not just to be provocative), challenging beliefs or assumptions can be powerful. For example, you could ask, "What if everyone continued working remotely? Would your life be better or worse?" Posting contrary viewpoints can be an interesting way to see what your online followers think about a situation.
7. Engage with Others on Their Posts.
If you comment, reply and share on other people's posts, they'll be more inclined to do the same for you.
8. Show Your Humanness.
Avoid being too stoic or serious in your posts. Depending on your level of comfort, let others know what you feel, think and wonder about. Remember that real people engage with real people.
9. Respond to Everyone Who Engages with You.
When someone posts a response on your content, always reply. Even a "thank you for that, Bob!" tells them their response was meaningful. The exception to this is if the comment is negative or completely off topic. Consider whether this person is looking for an argument or to self-promote.
10. Use Visuals.
Photos, videos and graphics draw eyes to your content. Make sure your visuals support the gist of the message (and aren't just "click bait") and that you have permission to use the images. You're not permitted to "borrow" images from Google.
Following these tips, it can take time to curate content that engages others and builds a followership that wants to converse with you online. Be patient and, if you need, modify your approach slightly and see whether that produces better results.
The author of "Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty" (2020) and "Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition" (2014), Lida Citroën is a keynote speaker and presenter, executive coach, popular TEDx speaker and instructor of multiple courses on LinkedIn Learning. She regularly presents workshops on personal branding, executive presence, leadership communication and reputation risk management.
A contributing writer for Military.com, Lida is a passionate supporter of the military, volunteering her time to help veterans transition to civilian careers and assist employers who seek to hire military talent. She regularly speaks at conferences, corporate meetings and events focused on military transition.
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