Have you ever wondered how you can meet new people especially when you’re unable to attend events? You can engage on social media and grow your network.
Social media opens the door to new relationships and all it takes is being human (and a plan).
Engagement, in social media terms, means commenting or interacting with something posted on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
When someone engages with a post on social media, it shows that there is interest in the topic and/or person.
I metion this to help you understand how welcome and appreciated commenting is!
When you leave a comment it conveys your interest. It’s the equivalent of talking with someone after a presentation. And in some cases, it could be considered virtual small talk or a conversation-starter.
This is how relationships start.
Change Your Approach
Let’s say you want to have a conversation with someone you don’t know.
If you were to send an invitation to connect through LinkedIn, they may not accept it. However, if you engage with something the person has said or posted on social media, that person is likely to respond.
This opens the door for you to send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and since they recognize your name, they are more likely to accept your invitation.
Does this take more effort and time? Absolutely. But the end result is many times better.
Build A Connection First
Keep in mind, you can’t just ask someone for a meeting or conversation during your first interaction on social media.
To earn the right to ask someone for a favor (or conversation), you need to build a connection with the person.
You can do this by first finding a common professional interest. Do you both care about social media, HR, recruiting, technology? Respond to something they’ve shared in a thoughtful comment.
Or show interest in what they are doing or sharing.
The ultimate goal, one you can’t ask for, is to develop a relationship online that can be converted into IRL (in real life).
This happens every day across every social media platform!
Start by identifying people you want to engage with!
Check out How To Use Social Networks…To Network
5 Ways to Engage On Social Media
One of the best ways to engage with people you don’t know is to interact with something they’ve posted on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram).
These are five ways to engage on social media (and start a relationship):
- Mention/tag people
- Re-share or re-tweet something they’ve posted
- Start a discussion on recent industry news
- Ask a question
- Share your educated opinion
Now, let’s look at examples of how to do this.
Go to the person’s activity section on LinkedIn and review their posts and see what comments they have made.
One option is to reshare something they’ve posted on LinkedIn and tag the person who posted it to give credit as the source.
You don’t need to be connected to the person to tag them.
(Type the @ and then start typing their name until you see profile pop up. Be sure you select the correct person).
Your post shows up in their LinkedIn notifications when you tag them.
They may feel flattered that you referenced what they shared. They will absolutely be appreciative of the fact that you gave them credit for posting, authoring or sharing the content. This is just one way to start a new relationship.
Have you ever had 187 people comment on something you’ve shared on LinkedIn? Maybe you haven’t tried it. Here’s an example:
Job Search Tip:
Look for people inside your target companies that you would like to meet. You could look for people with similar job titles, company recruiters or people who are second-degree connections with people you know well. Or use all three options.
You can never have enough inside contacts. In fact, the more connections you have inside a company you are interested in, the better information you will acquire about working there.
I always make sure I mention the authors of the articles I include in my Summary Sunday when I share it on social media.
If you reshare or post an article written by someone, tag them on Facebook (if they have an account).
When these authors monitor their Facebook account, they will see I’ve tagged them via Facebook notifications. Some will repost my update, others will like it, and some may say Thank You. In short, my post gets on their radar. If they share it, that puts my name and article in front of everyone in their network! That’s great exposure!
You can usually find their Facebook business page in the article they’ve written or go to the author’s website and poke around a bit. You’ll find it if they are on Facebook.
Job Search Tip
Find good stories or news about a company you are interested in and then tag the company or people who work inside the company. You should be following your target companies on Facebook and if they have a Facebook careers page, follow that too! This gives you more opportunities to comment and engage.
Be sure whatever you post is relevant to your career goals!
You don’t have to publish your own content. You can share someone’s article and mention their name in your Tweet. Just make sure you are using the correct Twitter handle.
And be strategic about what you post/retweet. Is it written by someone you want to connect with? Is it about a company you are interested in working for? Is it about a topic that’s important to your career?
There’s a whole-lot of mentioning going on in this Retweet by Phyllis Mufson. It’s got 8 likes and even a couple of shares.
FYI: everyone mentioned in this retweet sees it listed in their Twitter mentions tab.
Job Search Tip
Find and follow company accounts or company career accounts and retweet their content. Be sure to tag/mention them.
Recruiters want to know that you have an interest in working for their company so your interaction with company recruiters on social media is a good way to engage too.
Instagram does not allow you to reshare posts or stories to your timeline. But you can use 3rd party tools to Regram (reshare on Instagram). You can reshare someone’s Instagram post to other sites like Facebook, Twitter or in Instagram Instant Messenger. Instagram’s Terms of Service state you must get permission before sharing someone else’s post.
If you really want to Regram, you have two options:
- Take a screenshot from your phone and post it to your Instagram. (Always give credit in your post to the original poster)
- Use Repost for Instagram (a 3rd party app – free)
Job Search Tips
Follow all your target companies on Instagram so you can see what they share! Like their updates and leave a comment when appropriate. Always ask for permission before you Regram.
Also look for hashtags…#[company name + careers]
A Word of Caution
Before you do any of these, make sure your LinkedIn profile or personal website is up to date.
Also, make sure you’ve reviewed your status updates to make sure they are professional and show you in a positive light (no complaining, trolling or badmouthing).
Here are articles to help you pimp your social media profiles:
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.