By Carl B. Forkner, Ph.D.
It is nearly impossible today to walk around in America and not see people twiddling away at some electronic device. Maybe an iPhone or Android phone, a tablet, MP3 player, or other devices. The use of these devices has become so prolific that some cities have passed ordinances prohibiting their use while walking in an attempt to reduce incidents of injury, unceremoniously bumping into other people, or wandering into a busy street. Perhaps one of the more humorous examples of this phenomenon was a video of a woman so intently focused on her phone while she was walking and texting that she walked into—and subsequently landed into—a fountain at a shopping center. And yes, as many jump to do today, she sued the shopping center because of a “safety problem” (the suit was laughed out of court, by the way, as it should have been).
The point to take away from this is simple—TV, newspapers, and radio are no longer the best medium through which to reach potential clients, customers, companies, and organizations…and now, companies and organizations have come to that conclusion as well. This assertion is not simply based on anecdotal observation of “people on the street;” rather, corporate analysts have also noted this trend in studies, including the Pew Center, Forbes, and Staples. Not only have they studied it—they are acting upon it! In a 2013 study, 89% of marketers reported greater exposure and interaction for their business when they started using social media marketing; 75% reported increased website traffic as a result of extending their marketing campaigns to social media.
Half the popular social media market is dominated by two systems—Facebook, with over 1.7 Billion subscribers, and YouTube, with over 1 Billion subscribers. Of note, while Google Search is the world’s number one search engine, YouTube is number two! The remaining half of the market is held by LinkedIn (400+ Million), Google+ (300+ Million), Twitter (300+ Million), Instagram (250+ Million), Pinterest (80+ Million), and numerous smaller site that are dying, rebranding, or startups. Perhaps one of the more important points of social media is that it reaches internationally in a matter of seconds—As Thomas Friedman put it, “The World is Flat” (Friedman, 2005). Here is a tip: If you use the Google Chrome browser, you can link your Gmail, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogger sites together. With the $10/mo application “Buffer” you can schedule multiple posts across multiple social media platforms with a singel program.
But beyond the current trend for using social media to reach consumers, companies are using it increasingly to promote job opportunities and screen potential employees. Yes, social media is becoming a job marketplace, taking employment opportunities outside the previous boundaries of searching websites. Of course, websites are still germane in the job search—in fact, many social media sites will have links to jobs posted on a company’s website—but using social media greatly expands a company’s reach, with exceptional return on investment (ROI) because of the small cost of social media company pages and promotions. Examining statistics from the first quarter of CY 2016, nearly 90% of companies use LinkedIn to find talent, 50% use Facebook, and 45% use Twitter. Not only that, but over 93% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to source new employees—you know, those jobs people seem to get that nobody seemed to see posted anywhere—and overall, over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to screen potential employees.
We often hear about how technology is outpacing other advances in society, including laws; however, the challenge for today’s job seekers is understanding how to take advantage of this new employment marketplace to enhance their career search. In the first quarter of 2016, 93% of recruiters were using LinkedIn to view potential employees, while only 38% of job seekers were using LinkedIn—in other words, OVER 50% of job seekers were missing out on job postings, opportunities, and company promotions! 54% of recruiters used Twitter, compared to 34% of job seekers, and 66% of recruiters used Facebook versus 52% of job seekers. By the way, using social media as part of an overall job search strategy costs less than it costs companies to post and promote their positions, products, and services—for the job seeker, the ability to search for jobs on social media is F-R-E-E! Yes, you can pay extra for a job-seekers plan on LinkedIn, but you can still search company listings without paying money…
So, how does this ROI sound to you: Information and job opportunities for Z-E-R-O investment, other than your time? You can even go to a library and use their computers—or their wifi—for free, if you do not have that capability yourself. Or you can enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee, tea, or cold drink at the local coffee shop and relax while using their wifi service (although I tend to agree with the “social convention” expressed by Dr. Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory that one should patronize an establishment if one uses their services—a cup of coffee, tea, or other beverage to have climate-controlled wifi access for as long as you like seems a small price to pay). As Mark Hijar, founder of ProcureLinx, LLC, stated, “Try spreading sweat equity first, money second.”
Friedman, T. (2005). The world is flat. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
A number of ideas and resources for popular social media and blogging sites are available for F-R-E-E on the @DWWTC Pinterest site at http://www.pinterest.com/dwwtc/ and this link goes directly to the “Social Media Job Search Tips” board: http://www.pinterest.com/dwwtc/social-media-job-search-tips/