I want to be online – should I tweet, blog or friend?

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There seems to be a constant blur between what some people say is personal branding and what others think it is, it is naturally going to happen as it's importance rises and a number of articles have been written on the subject recently and I am sure we will continue to see a grwoth in the for and against camps. 

One such area of confusion is in social media and social networking. 

There was post by Drew McLellan over at his blog Drews Marketing Minute - How do you tell if your social media consultant is the real deal? – that got me thinking – this was prompted by two more extensive joint posts by Geoff Livingston and Beth Harte – who had written and generated a lot of comments on their posts –Top 25 Ways to tell if your social media expert is a carpet bagger and 25 Signs You've Got A Strong SM Consultant or Agency

Drew's list is a good place to start and adapt for the individual if you are thinking of using social media and networking as part of your job search (and you certainly should be) and are looking to employ the services of an expert. 

How do you tell if the social media / networking expert you are talking to should be helping you with your job search? 

1. Does not believe that everyone should blog (or can). Nor do they believe a blog is the b-all and end all. A well put together on line portfolio can be just as good and may be more suited to someone who does not want to blog or are not comfortable writing. 

2. Constantly reminds you that social media and networking is just a tool. You still need to understand your personal brand and have something of value to an employer. If you do not have a clear value proposition then you are going to fall in to the 'maybe' or 'no' pile much sooner.

3. Have a successful social media strategy themselves and have a presence in the key social networking areas. Very quickly check them out by putting their name in Google – put in the quote marks – e.g. "Joe Smith" – that way you get a cleaner search to find them. Are they there? Are they there for the right reasons!

4. Helps you weave your social marketing strategy in to the rest of your job search strategy. So you are on LinkedIn – now what – how does that help you get in the door, start a conversation or find someone or something out about a company you are interested in?

5. Does not promise that their social media efforts are so incredible that they are going to protect you from the recession, land you a job or make you the next CEO of ………… (enter dream employer). You can certainly build an online presence quite quickly and effectively, but it needs to be working for you beyond having a good Google ranking (to check out what it is now go to the Online ID Calculator)As my Dad always says – "But how do you cash it?" – what are the rewards of doing all this – ask them. 

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