How long has social media been a part of our lives?
The answer to that question is most certainly relative, as its role within the internet marketing industry continues to expand. While most of us may think of MySpace, or even Facebook as the time period where social media entered our lives, some of you may say that social media began in 1997 with the release of Six Degrees.
Six Degrees was the first social media site created, and it allowed users to establish a relationship with other users by uploading a profile and sharing personal information. A lot like the social outlets we utilize today. However, I don’t think you were seeing sponsored posts and advertisements fill your timelines and news feeds in 1997.
Google defines social media as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” When you think about that definition, weren’t we technically doing that in the late 1700’s with telegraph, and even prior to that with hand delivered scrolls and messages?
Social media has been a part of our day-to-day lives for longer than most of us can remember. The evolution and usage of social media has most certainly changed and evolved into a multi-purpose necessity of business practice and an all-consuming obsession with people of all ages and all walks of life.
Modern Day Social Media
The big question of the 21st century is, are you using social media properly? Even more importantly, are you using it in a way that could negatively impact you on a personal or professional level?
Today we have platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and the list goes on. Each one serves as a “Soap Box” for the individual user as well as a personal and professional profile, resume and a detailed account of many people’s lives. Essentially, putting something out on social media is a modern day opportunity for an individual to hold their own press conference.
We have all looked at our Facebook feed and thought to ourselves, what in the world is this person thinking? Why would they want to share that on their profile? If you are an employer, I am sure you have taken a peek at a few potential candidate profiles and thought to yourself that there is no way that individual would positively represent your company.
Business Recruiting in a Social World
It is important to remember that social media continues to progress and evolve, now entering the world of recruiting with full force. Platforms like LinkedIn are focusing their own marketing efforts and obtaining business partnerships for the sole purpose of connecting potential employees with prospective employers.
LinkedIn and Facebook both offer “Career” pages that allow companies to highlight their open positions and view potential candidates that fit the criteria and skill set needed for particular job openings.
Shifting to a mobile world, applications like “Switch” offer a unique experience allowing both passive and active candidates to match up to companies with job listings. Job seekers can now aim to connect with employers that are looking for the experience and skill set they may have just simply by swiping left or right.
Benefits of Social Media for Career Search
Using social media in the right way can highlight both a business and a candidate in a positive way. Below are a few examples of benefits:
Your profile or job listing is always live and readily available.
You have an increased potential in discovering available jobs or qualified candidates you never knew existed.
You can make great contact with industry leaders in your profession.
You can either build your brand credibility or your personal knowledge base.
Candidates have the ability to find openings, and companies have the ability to find you!!
Employers and hiring managers will often follow or connect with potential employees on social media platforms. Candidates are in good shape when hiring managers find some background information that supports the qualification for the position. If there is information that showcases an individual’s creativity or conveys a professional image that fits with company culture, you leave a favorable impression.
How Social Media Can Harm Your Reputation
Connectivity is a great thing. It’s important to find yourself in the right circles, but it is equally essential to know your audience. While social media can be fun, engaging and enlightening, it can also be damaging to your personal or businesses reputation.
Remember that evolution of social media? We are now in a world that uses social media to develop a first impression prior to an initial meeting or interview. There are many ways that social media can be harmful to a business or an individual’s career. You can find a few examples of those below:
A post may violate company policy.
An individual or a business could isolate himself or herself from a co-worker or potential candidate.
For individuals, poor taste posting can lead to “Facebook Fires.”
Tasteless posting can make a business or individual seem less professional or appealing than they truthfully are.
Provocative or inappropriate photographs.
To clarify things a little deeper, let’s discuss some of the specific types of posting you should refrain from.
Individuals should not post about Job Interviews or Job Offers before notifying current employer. This is just poor taste.
Individuals or businesses should not criticize employers, employees or working conditions.
Individuals and businesses should not badmouth current or past clients. This too is just poor taste and could have negative repercussions on the growth of the business.
Discrepancies, fights, and arguments should not be posted on social media.
Wrapping It Up
Some of you may be reading this blog and thinking, what is she trying to say? What is the point she is trying to make?
My point is that social media has always played a huge role in networking and now it is taking the next step into business recruiting and job search. It is a major form of communication and continues to flourish and evolve.
Each day, the number of people using social media increases, and in turn, the number of businesses using the networks for job recruiting continues to expand. This means that we have to think of the audience on social platforms on a different scale than we did before.
Yes, teenagers are not expected to be “professionals,” but one day they will be applying for a career, and those drunken late night frat parties can come back to haunt them. Tasteless posts by individuals or businesses can create a loss of connection between the two parties. Keep in mind that there are many positives to social media and we’ve enjoyed them for many many years, but now we have to start thinking about the negative consequence of using these platforms incorrectly.
I encourage businesses and individuals to review their social platforms and profiles. While you do, think about the person sitting next to you.
Does your Facebook page show you or your business in the manner in which you want to be perceived? Are you comfortable showing your Instagram page to a prospective employer? Do you feel your LinkedIn page accurately represents your business? Would your employees be shocked if they saw your Twitter feed?
Think of social media as your “Soap Box” and make sure your message is being heard just as you intended it to be.