If you’ve amassed a large, diverse social media collection, it’s safe to say you’re probably having a hard time keeping up with them all.
Facebook you can do. Facebook and LinkedIn? Easy. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? Making it work.
Whether you’ve signed up for each one as a way to grow your personal brand, keep in touch with contacts or build an online portfolio of your work for recruiters to find, here’s the deal: If you want those tools to do any of those things, you can’t let them sit there, unattended and neglected.
That said, not every single one needs the same amount of attention.
So which ones should you be comfortable putting the brakes on, and which ones should you be ramping up for them to be useful? Here are posting parameters for your most beloved (and loathed) platforms:
While Twitter is great for live tweeting political debates — or boxing matches — it’s also a really fantastic platform for professional networking and relationship building. Because the hierarchy that factors into the real world doesn’t seem to apply here, it’s much easier to spark conversations and start discussions with industry influencers here than it is via a straightforward email.
Dedicate one hour a week to tracking down four to six pieces of content.
If you’re on Twitter and serious about building your personal brand, I’d recommend increasing the amount of time you spend on the platform. Not to worry — you can have a lively feed without tweeting all day, everyday.
Dedicate one hour a week to tracking down four to six pieces of content (articles, videos, photos, quotes) on topics you want people to begin associating with your name. For example, if you’re an HR professional looking for jobs in human resources, you’ll want to find content related to this industry — especially material written by the influencers you’re looking to build relationships with or things you’ve written or responded to.
Once you know what you want to post, you can schedule those tweets throughout the week to stay organized and on top of your account. Even with the advance scheduling, it’s still a good idea to pop in once a day to see if your post received any engagement, say hello to new followers and check your timeline for any interesting, trending things to share.
If you’re looking to build your personal brand — and, I’d argue, if you want to be taken seriously in the professional arena — you must be on LinkedIn. It’s one of the first places recruiters, industry leaders, speaker organizers and journalists look to learn more about your experience and expertise, and as far as social media sites go, it’s an extremely low-maintenance platform; all you really need to do is keep your profile updated and current.
Of course, depending on where you are in your career or if you’re in the middle of a job search, you might wish to engage beyond showcasing your awesome profile. If you want to proactively promote your professional story and become a part of your LinkedIn community, you can share articles on the platform — similar to the way you might on Facebook. Once a week is a good rule of thumb, but again, as long as you have a descriptive bio, history of employment and profile picture, you don’t technically need to do anything else to feel comfortable staying on LinkedIn.
Facebook and Instagram
While these platforms need little introduction — you’re well versed in posting personal photos, updates and sharing articles — there’s probably a lot you didn’t realize you could do with them as far as boosting your career goes.
Your Facebook and Instagram presences can help you build your personal brand.
Consider how your Facebook and Instagram presences can help you build your personal brand and function as great networking tools. Both platforms offer an interesting opportunity to give recruiters and industry influencers a sense of who you are not just as a business professional, but as a person. If you’re already pretty active on one or both, you can focus on finding ways to integrate more information about your experience and expertise, including photos of you at industry conferences or links to your latest guest blog.
If you’re not interested in using the sites to proactively build your brand, that’s absolutely fine. Just remember that any public profiles can (and likely will) be seen by people interested in learning more about you — whether the content you post was created for them or not. So, whether you’re using the platforms to build a professional online presence or just connecting with friends, it’s time to take down those frat party photos if you’re not private.
This is a platform that needs the least hand-holding as long as you’ve got a credible foundation in place. When I work with my clients on creating their Pinterest presence, for example, we always go in and create six to eight initial boards. Then, we add content to those boards as we come across them, whether that’s once a week or once every two weeks.
Saying that, this is one of the least likely ways to introduce yourself to industry influencers. Few recruiters are browsing boards in an effort to get to know potential candidates. Still, it can provide tons of inspiration, and if your focus is on marketing yourself and your skills, you might consider using it to get ideas for how to better do that. Or, you might decide that it’s just not worth the time and effort. Being an inactive user here will hardly hurt your professional reputation.
If you’re primarily interested in keeping platforms that’ll benefit you from a personal branding standpoint — and you’re feeling overwhelmed with managing all of your accounts — this is one to lose.
While there are certainly creative ways to build a presence and relationships that can help your industry credibility and career, people on this site are generally much more interested in pictures with doodles on your face than they are about your marketing expertise.
Before you step away from whichever social media tool you’ve decided isn’t working for you right now, write a two to three sentence exit post.
Again, it’s fine to keep your account if you genuinely enjoy using it. It’s worth remembering that while social media can be a great way to build upon your career story, it’s not the only reason to participate with the online communities.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re ready to ditch one or more of your accounts, that’s fine — just don’t mass delete them! Even if you’ve decided that Pinterest isn’t living up to your expectations, don’t forget that you’ve still spent time creating content and engaging with a group of people — reason enough not to erase all of your efforts. One day you might even decide you want to give Twitter or Snapchat another chance, and it’ll be a lot easier if you don’t have to start from scratch.
So, before you step away from whichever social media tool you’ve decided isn’t working for you right now, write a two to three sentence exit post. Explain that you’re no longer active on the platform but that you are vocal in several other places, and anyone that’s interested in learning more about you and your business or brand should check them out. Let them know you’re happy to connect via one of the sites where you have a regular and consistent presence.
You could post the following in your profile bio: “Hi! Thanks for stopping by and sorry I missed you. I’m no longer active on this Facebook page but I am on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.” Make sure you link to your active accounts in the message to make it as straightforward as possible for others to contact or follow you.
Now you have no excuse not to concentrate on the sites you like and care about building up for the sake of your brand.
This article originally published at The Muse here