A Comprehensive PR Strategy for Freelancers and Professionals
Why you should answer job interview questions on your social media
This is a post for anyone who wants to be known for the high-value services they can offer. I’m going to show you how to think about your social media accounts as a professional, how to get the balance right, and specifically what your customers (read: employers/clients) want to see your answer.
PR and Community Building
I’m of the opinion that most social media work is PR and community building. This is what you need to be thinking of, whenever you post to social media.
It’s not enough to just censor yourself — not posting photos of yourself that make you look bad. You need to be actively thinking about what makes you look good.
You Are Your Brand
As an aside, I also don’t think it’s a great idea to have a purely business social media account unless you have a separate brand image to maintain. If you’re doing all your professional work as yourself, and that’s the brand you’re maintaining, you need to just use that account. Don’t have separate accounts for your artwork and your personal life unless your art is sold under a business name. If you’re building your own reputation, just be you.
The reason for this is that it’s a lot of work, and unless you have time to put in all that work, you’re not going to do a great job of it. Plus, purely business accounts get really boring without some personal imagery, and if you’re adding that in then you’re possibly just duplicating your own personal account. If, however, you run a business with a separate identity to maintain, then yes, run both accounts separately.
What Your Friends Should Know About You
Think about it like this: If your friends don’t even know what you do for a living, how will they know to come to you for help in that field? How will they know to recommend you to their friends?
There is an interesting line you shouldn’t cross though. You need to try to not turn your personal social media accounts into accounts that purely deliver business posts. The aim is to get the balance right.
Balance Your Social Accounts Like A Celebrity
For maintaining this balance of professional and social, I like to watch what celebrities are doing. They know that they have a lot of people watching who really want to know what they’re up to professionally, but also what they’re doing for fun and more about them in general. Try to keep a similar mix in your own personal social accounts.
Watch how celebrities throw out a selfie with a friend and say, “We’re going to be at XYZ event tonight — hope to see you there!”, showing backstage pictures of themselves getting makeup done, showing off their hobbies or new businesses, doing sponsored posts, or showing a final product of them on a front cover. They’re not being annoying and getting in your face. They’re coming across as inviting, welcoming, sharing, and grateful for the opportunities they get.
You can do this without becoming an Instagram model and taking photos in your bikini every other day. Just try to think about how you can get more photos of you in your professional line of work.
Thinking Like a Business and a Person
As a professional with a reputation to build, or an individual promoting services you offer, you need to think like a small business and as an individual. And that’s great, as it keeps the ideas coming.
Your customers are your freelance clients, the people who buy your books, friends of friends, and your potential employers.
As a business, you need to promote your products and services, let people know how they can work with you, and make sure people know your values. You need to build trust and awareness. You want people to value your products and services.
As an individual, you can get a little more personal. You want people to trust and like you.
How Can a Professional Build Trust?
Showing your average Instagram posts of friends and family will help build familiarity and likeability, so that’s fine for about 90% of the time. But you have to slip in some other stuff, either in the text around the post or in the images.
If you’re highly qualified in something, you need to let people know. If you do great work, you need to let people see it. Especially if you’re moving into a new line of work, you need to show what you know so far. Create a demo project if you need something to show people.
How can a potential customer trust you if they don’t know the quality of your work?
Answering the Right Questions for Your Customers
Think about any job interview you’ve ever been to and the types of questions they asked.
They ask these questions because they want to know about your experience, what sort of person you are, and how you would respond in various situations. They do this to see if you’re a good fit.
The questions they ask will either be fact-finding, behavioural, or situational. They want to know what you’ve done, what you’ve learned, how you do things, and how you plan to do things.
They want to see excitement, fresh ideas, unique takes, teamwork, culture fit, goal-setting abilities, empathy, positivity, adaptability, conflict-resolution techniques, your strengths, your weaknesses, and results. They want to see that you understand your role. They want to see continuous improvement.
Better still, most of your customers don’t even realise that they want to see these things. If you can show them and address all of their worries before they have even articulated what their concerns are, you look incredible to them.
Try to answer everything your customers could ever ask you. Think of writing your own professional FAQ page for your job and get every answer into a blog post or social media post. The more often the question is asked, the more often you need to mention it.
Going back to interviews: What have you been asked before?
Here are some really common interview questions:
- Tell me about your strengths.
- Tell me about your weaknesses.
- Why are you interested in our company?
- Why are you interested in this role?
- Are you willing to travel or relocate?
- What would you like to accomplish in the next 30/60/90 days?
- Tell me about when you’ve gone above and beyond at work.
- Tell me about a time when you’ve faced a big challenge/overcome an obstacle.
- Tell me about how you’ve handled a difficult situation.
- How have you previously handled disagreements with your boss?
- What makes you interesting?
- What questions do you have?
- What are your values?
- Give me an example of when you’ve set goals and achieved them.
- Give me an example of when you’ve taken the initiative.
- Describe your best experience working on a team.
- Describe your worst experience working on a team.
- Describe your worst experience working with a colleague.
- Tell me about a time that you persuaded or motivated someone.
- How do you work best on a team?
- How would you handle a disagreement with a colleague or customer?
- What type of supervision do you like?
- How would you take initiative in our organisation?
- How do you handle stress?
- What will you do if you realise you’re not able to meet a deadline?
- Describe your ideal working environment?
- How would you set your priorities at work?
- Walk me through your resume.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Tell me about your awards and how you got them.
- You held a leadership position in a community organisation. Walk me through it.
- Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
- Tell me about a time you exhibited leadership.
- Tell me about a time you failed.
- Tell me about a time you had success.
- What can you do for me?
Naturally Building Your Profile
See if you can work the answers to these questions into your social posts from now on, either with visual proof or a few sentences. Try to make it feel natural.
Tell a story. Include measurable metrics and results if possible. Great stories start with a hook. A sense of urgency. They should leave the listener anxious and excited to hear how it went.
Think like a storyteller, an author, or a media producer.
Sometimes, the story is contained in one post. Sometimes there’s a story arc that spans over a month. Sometimes, the story arc lasts the whole season.
For instance, if I get a night away from the kids and go to a fancy restaurant, that’s one random post. If I’m sharing my journey to getting an MBA, that’s a two-year process that will slowly lead to results — a major story arc. I once spent a whole month eating French desserts every day as I said goodbye to France — that’s a minor story arc.
Your weight-loss journey could last a few years. Progress pics showing how much you’d changed would keep people cheering you on.
If you’re writing a book and getting it published, that could be a three-year process, and your followers will enjoy supporting your progress and being a part of that journey.
Going Konmari on your house might take you a month of decluttering. People would love seeing you go through that process.
My point is that you need to think ahead and see how you can build progression towards your goals into your posts now.
Documenting your journey towards your goals is the easiest, most natural way to share your achievements while making your followers proud of you and keen to see more. Try it!