manage-your-career

5 Social Media Mistakes Even Smart People Make

Sure, you don't post racy pictures, but do you always think before you tweet?

As an experienced professional, you’re wise enough to have an appropriate photo on your social networks and to guard your private data. But you’re probably still making some mistakes or at least not taking full advantage of social media for your job search and career management.Here are five things you should be doing that even seasoned workers overlook:

Control Your LinkedIn Settings

You can turn your activity notifications on and off and also control who sees them. When you’re editing your profile, turn your notifications off so you’re not contacting your network multiple times in a short period. You can also control whether people know you are viewing profiles. Say you’re a small business consultant researching your competition and you don’t want them to know you are looking at their profiles. You can change your settings to Anonymous or a generic title.

Check Your Social Network Settings on a Regular Basis

Not only should you manage your settings when you are active, but you need to check them on a regular basis because social networks are always evolving their offerings. Privacy settings change, and your account may no longer be as secure. Features might be added or taken away. If you don’t set a reminder to check your settings (I recommend quarterly; annually at a bare minimum), you are not maximizing your profiles.



Interact Regularly

On LinkedIn, you can post a status update that is broadcast to your community. When you update your profile (unless you change your activity notifications), this is also broadcast. Think strategically about what you want to communicate. On the flip side, remember that interaction is a two-way dialogue. Read what others are contributing.

See also: "Is social media really essential? I'm smart. Can't I advance my career without it?"

All the major social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+) have settings that enable you to get emails when there is activity. This is critical because you don’t want to be on these networks all day – you want the information delivered to you. I am rarely on Facebook but that platform is key to my entertainment-related work, so I get email notifications of messages, friend requests, and when I’m tagged on a photo or post. The notifications enable me to catch important items but not drown in the rest of the information.

Strategically Expand Your Network

Use the social networks to meet people you would likely not meet if you had to see them in person or get their attention via email. I have found that Twitter and LinkedIn Inmails have great response rates. Take advantage of this connectivity by being deliberate about who you reach out to and by personalizing your approach: Who would make a good connection? How will you introduce yourself? Why are you approaching that person specifically? What is the next step?



Determine Your Social Media Strategy

What social networks will you use on a regular basis? What time of day will you interact? How much time can you devote to updating and interacting? How will you remember to update your profiles and check your settings? What is your goal for social media and your strategy to get there?

If your social media strategy consists of logging on when you remember, your efforts will be haphazard and you will either do too little or too much (as you get sucked in when you happen to visit). If you don’t decide in advance whom you want to meet, what information you want to capture or share, the only things you accomplish will be accidental. Take a step back from your social media habit and design a proactive campaign that defines your goals and allocates your time and efforts accordingly.

See also: Why You Should Blog – And How to Do It

Social networks are so easy to join that they can burn through your time and effort with no results other than banter and cat videos. Be deliberate about your social media presence. Choose one of the tips above to implement right away. Schedule time on your calendar to complete the other suggestions over the next few weeks. Measure your results every few months and tweak your strategy and efforts accordingly. Social media is a powerful tool for your job search and career management when you take full advantage of what it offers.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert with SixFigureStart®. She is a former recruiter in management consulting, financial services, media, technology, and pharma/ biotech.

Image: Vladimir Stamenkovic / Getty Images