Social networks used to be thought of as a platform for teens to chat with their friends and post the latest gossip. Today, however, individuals of all ages, as well as businesses are seeing the benefits of being active in the social platforms, with one of the largest benefits being network expansion.
According to Alexandra Levit, author and writer at Mashable, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are a networker’s dream. Social networking sites allow people to continually connect with each other and create lasting relationships. So…how can you effectively network on these sites?
- Include keywords about who you are and what you do on all of your profiles. This will make it easier for people and potential business partners to search for and contact you.
- Utilize the connections (potential business partners) you make to reach out and become visible to their connections and networks.
- Follow industry leaders on Twitter. Networking with industry leaders will give you leverage and visibility within your market and in their networks. Twitter is the one social networking platform where it is acceptable to contact/follow anyone. Other platforms (i.e. Facebook and LinkedIn) require you to be invited into a network.
- Network with Facebook and LinkedIn after you have been invited into a network or use connections with co-workers and/or clients to make an introduction for yourself on these sites.
- Create a digital business card or portfolio and provide a link on all of your social networking sites.
- Use social media to maintain your current business relationships. For example, social media provides more channels and ways to catch up with a client or business partner.
- Avoid social media altogether. You may be skeptical of social media, but avoiding it severely restricts the pool in which you network.
- Limit your network to people in your geographic area. Social media allows you to connect with anyone, anywhere. Take advantage of this – it is the beauty of social networking!
- Make your networking profiles private. This makes it impossible for anyone to search for you and difficult to verify if you are the person they are searching for. The only time this does not apply is to a personal Facebook page. We suggest creating a limited profile for select publics to view instead.
- Seem needy or spam industry leaders. If you contact someone more than two times in a month and have not heard back from them, do not continue! Major industry leaders cannot respond personally to everyone. Just establishing a connection (whether it is by following them on Twitter or friending them on Facebook) is a big enough step.
Happy social networking