How do you shape up socially?

How do you shape up socially?

A provocative title, perhaps, but not one designed to question whether you’re good at talking to complete strangers at a party. No, today’s blog is about getting you to ask yourself the question:

Do I have a personal strategy for social media channels?

Do you? It’s easy to say ‘yes’ and perhaps you are very au fait with some of the social channels you use every day. But sometimes it’s useful to hold up a mirror and have a look at how you come across online. After all, in the recruitment business you’re dealing with people every day, both candidates and clients, new and existing, and they have access to all of the tools you do when it comes to finding out about people online.

So do you know how you come across? Is it exactly how you want? How often do you use social media channels for your work purposes? Do you have a schedule of frequency when you are on social media for work purposes? Are you sporadic with what you say and when you say it? Do you mix some elements of personal and professional, so that your customers can see you’re a real person?

We know, we know, that’s a lot of questions. But we’ll try to break them down for you. Or, if you prefer, you can download our IRP Professional Guide on Setting yourself a social strategy. It’s a two page PDF and can be found on the IRP website, along with a host of other professional guides across a range of topics. We would say this, but it’s definitely worth checking out what’s on the site.

So, back to you. Let’s start with our old friend Google. Have you ever Googled yourself? No, this is not a vanity exercise, but an exercise in trying to see exactly what you look like when your customers start to search you out. As an industry we know (and tell people) that first impressions count and it’s exactly the same online. Whether you like the terminology or not, your ‘personal brand’ is represented through the social channels you use. Everything you do through your social channels (most of the time) is searchable and recorded somewhere.

But that’s not a bad thing. People buy from people and if people can see that you have a personality, that you have a certain ‘brand’, that could be the difference between a job placement coming your way, or going to the next recruiter. So, start with your Google search. See what comes up within the first couple of sentences of the

Be different.

Easy to write, difficult to demonstrate?

Not necessarily. If you’re an IRP member, you can use that as a USP. Mention your IRP status. Talk about the qualifications you’ve got. Demonstrate your level of professionalism. Enter an IRP Award and show you are a winner to your clients and candidates. Add it to your LinkedIn profile, mention it in a Facebook status or just say how proud you are through 140 characters on Twitter.

You may be happy with how your profile looks online across multiple channels, but have you made an assessment on whether you’re using the right channels? There’s no point in spending all day on Google+ if none of your clients and candidates are. Every recruiter seems to live on LinkedIn, but if you’re placing construction workers, how many of them will log in to have a look at the latest group discussions? Talk to your candidates about what channels they use and how frequently. Do you know what time of day most people are available? Are there any sweet spots?

Then, when you have an idea, plan on where you are going to focus and when. There’s no point in being everywhere. You’re only one person and you can only do so much. So choose what you want to focus on and go for it. But when you’ve decided, make sure you’re posting information regularly that your audience would find interesting, coupled with more information about you. People buy from people – it’s an old adage but a true one in recruitment – and they’ll buy from you if you let them see your personality. Be yourself, but be mindful of how much of yourself you give to your customers. A good test is the ‘grandma’ test. In other words, would you be happy sharing the information with your grandmother?

Finally, before we let you go, make sure you you’re keeping an eye on technology. Technology is moving fast and there’s always something new happening on social, so whilst you can’t keep track of everything, you can be aware of some of the key developments that could affect how you interact socially. For example, facial recognition software is advancing rapidly. Who knows what the future holds, but if there are ways in which your picture can be linked to your social profile, that certainly has implications for how your personal brand looks.

Everybody uses social media differently and everyone has a different approach to setting up how they appear online. There is no silver bullet, but if you take time to think about how you want to come across and follow some of the simple steps suggested in the Professional Guide we’ve produced, you can’t go far wrong.

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