Facebook and LinkedIn Groups for Contractors (Part 2)
Part 2: What Types of Social Media Groups Should You Join?
In a recent post, we shared information about groups in social networks and did a high-level review and comparison of group functionality on the two most popular platforms -- LinkedIn and Facebook. We concluded that both networks have their strengths and weaknesses, as well as promised more information about how to take advantage of groups, regardless of the network you choose.
There are an infinite number of topics and categories of groups and which ones you join will depend on your unique interest. For the sake of this post, we're looking at three specific types of groups that would be valuable to almost all technology professionals: Subject Matter Expert Groups, Recruiter Groups, and Team Groups.
Subject Matter Expert Groups
If you have a specialty, no matter how niche it is, there is a high likelihood that somebody has created a group about it. These groups are filled with like-minded individuals who are dying to give their opinion or advice on a specific topic. It's also a place where people doing research into a topic may come to ask questions from SMEs. As an independent contractor, joining these groups will allow you to grow your network, raise your own professional profile and learn about new job opportunities. You may even find yourself a project for a company on the other side of the world. Technology recruiters are known to frequent these groups, so the more active you are and value you contribute, the more likely you are to be contacted with opportunities from a staffing agency.
As just noted, Recruiters are known to join SME Groups when they're looking for a technology professional with a specific skillset, and they also frequently create their own groups. For example, it would be very simple to find a LinkedIn group owned by a recruiter and dedicated to technology jobs in Canada, or your specific region. While these groups will appear to be filled with a recruiter's self-promotion, they are also the best way to connect with new recruiters and learn first-hand about new job opportunities in your area. The well-managed groups will have unbiased job search tips and independent contracting advice, so you can increase your odds of finding a new IT contract with any recruitment agency.
Project Team Groups
Finally, you may find value in creating a private group just for your current project team. It's a place where you can all shoot around ideas, share information, and have casual conversations on the side. The benefit of using a social network's group in addition to your client's communication technologies is that you can continue the conversations after the project has ended. This is especially beneficial when you finish a project with an exceptional team.
These are just three examples of social media groups that can be helpful to an independent contractor looking to advance their career. If you'd like to join one but can't find one, then create a group. The process is free and easy, but remember to properly manage it to ensure a steady stream of engagement. What do you think of groups? Are there any types we missed that you recommend? Share your thoughts below!