Your Social Media Strategy — From Facebook To LinkedIn

Illustration Courtesy of Mary Galloway.
By Jen Dziura

Many articles (and e-books, and e-courses) out there advocate “dominating” social media. But if you’re managing your personal brand or you’re a freelancer (or biz owner), do you really need to be on every social media platform? And do you need third-party tools?

What’s more important — getting 10,000 likes, or getting 100 of the right people to interact with you? No judgments. It just depends on whether you’re trying to get industry leaders to pay you $5,000 for a speech or recruiters to offer you flashy new gigs.

Here’s the right way to use social media professionally.

If your career is about staying top-of-mind among people in your circle (or networking with a few hundred people can make a difference for you), consider designating your personal profile as public and interacting on Facebook the way you would at a cocktail party — part social and part networking.

You can be funny, talk politics, and tell everyone that you loved your Mexican beach vacation, but you probably don’t want to post baby pictures more than once a fortnight. And you might have to ask your mom, romantic partner, etc. to tone it down.

I have long kept my Facebook settings non-private, and I simply don’t post anything to Facebook that isn’t intended for the public. (Baby pics stay on a private Instagram account.) When someone I’m friends with on Facebook hires me to give a speech at her company, she knows from my frequent Facebook posts that a) I’d like to round up everyone promoting sexism and give them a “speech” involving certain medieval punishments, but b) in actual practice, I’ll keep it highly professional, Lean In-style. The point is, she knows me. You can’t buy an ad for that.

That said, if you’re a freelancer or want to promote yourself or your work, go ahead and make yourself a Facebook page (business pages and fan pages are now the same thing). But know that you’ll have to pay to reach most people.

Even people who have already clicked “like” on your page — and that in itself is an accomplishment! — are unlikely to see your posts unless you click “Boost Post” and pay up. (The budget Facebook usually suggests to me is $30.) To be fair, Facebook ads are remarkably effective if you have something clear and specific to sell. Over the last few months, I have been served ads for these things, all of which I 100% want: a stylish trench, fancy ottomans, industrial-style tables, lessons on how to make an app for my business, and an invitation to the number-one cat-themed apparel site on the Internet.

Well done, robot overlords!