In December we published an article ‘Why contractors need to be marketing their services’. It had a great response, and one of the comments we received was how important social media is becoming in the aid of finding new contract work.
As a follow on to this, this post looks at how contractors can harness the power of social media in their quest to find a new contracting role.
Rise of the social channels
There are hundreds of social media channels, all with a different audience base. Not all of them will be suitable for finding contract work. It is better to focus your efforts on the ones that are likely to bring back results, these are; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (maybe) and Youtube.
You don’t need a degree in marketing to be a social media star
You may need a degree to do what you do in your contract career, but you don’t need a degree in marketing to use social media.
Setting up the accounts is extremely easy, LinkedIn requires more information than others, but if you have gathered all the information before you start you can set up a LinkedIn profile in less than one hour.
Let’s look at each one in turn:
LinkedIn is the largest business social media channel, and it is growing at an extraordinary rate.
If you are only going to set up one social media channel, it should be on LinkedIn. Here you will be able to connect with other contractors, recruiters and hiring managers in one place.
Instead of following an individual recruitment company connect with the agent that deals with your sector. Every time they post an update about a new role, this will appear in your feed.
Also, don’t be shy about promoting yourself on the site. Boast about your accomplishments, successes and add examples of projects you have worked on.
Twitter is more than images of cats doing something silly or a picture of what somebody had for breakfast. It has a role to play as a business tool and it should not be ignored.
A top tip we came across is having a link to your LinkedIn profile in the Twitter bio section. You are limited to the number of characters you can use here, so create a shortened version using URL shortener like bitly.com, or goo.gl.
Tweet about your job search and include relevant hashtags. Hashtags will increase the audience size your tweet reaches and will help others find your tweet. A staggering 6,000 tweets are sent every second, so do whatever you can to make yours easy to find.
Follow related job boards and recruiters, and use a Twitter feed tool, like Careerarc for example. Here you can add details about the type of role you are looking for (be very specific, don’t put contractor, as you will end up with hundreds of tweets) and where you want to work (country, city). You can then choose to have roles send to your twitter feed or email.
Facebook is tricky. It is mostly used for personal use, and most of us wouldn’t want clients seeing personal images and videos. So make sure your privacy settings are set correctly.
It is worth putting a post out saying that you are looking for a new contract and share it with your friends and family. You never know it might bring something up.
Youtube is a bit like Twitter, in that people think of it as a ‘fun site to find quirky videos’. However, businesses are seeing the huge potential of Youtube. It is the second most used search engine behind Google.
There is a massive global audience that can be reached through Youtube and maybe it is worth thinking about using it to reach new clients.
You could think about creating a video of yourself which starts off with a short biography of yourself and then you can explain what type of contracts you are looking for. Keep the video short, around 1-2 minutes will suffice.
An important point to remember is that when you upload the video to Youtube, make sure the video is SEO optimised, so that it can be found by search engines.
Finally, add links to your video from your other social media profiles and email signature.
Social recruiting is on the rise and organisations, large and small are now employing specialist firms to help them to incorporate this into their recruitment strategy. Setting up a profile on these social media channels and regularly posting about your search for a new contract, successes you have had in your current contract and new skills or certificates you have gained might help you to find a new contract role.