We all know the adage, ” It’s all about relationships.” No one can be successful in business or in their personal life without building and maintaining successful relationships. How do we do this differently in this modern age where a full 50% of adults use social networking sites? (1) I’d like to share some tips and tricks to enhance your personal and professional networking through social media.
I’ve always believed that social media helps to enhance the relationships we have in our offline lives, and research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project is proving this to be true. When it comes to social media, it really is all about relationships! In fact, the primary reason that people join social media sites such as Facebook is to stay connected with family and friends. (2) In addition, when asked to describe their experiences, users of social networking sites said:
This shows that social media is a unique tool that we can use to build, maintain, and enhance our relationships. Here are some ways of doing this that will help you network efficiently and successfully.
- Have clear goals in mind. This will help you be more intentional about your networking. For example, my goal is to have my LinkedIn network truly reflect my offline networks of peers and colleagues. This means that I try and connect with everyone in my offline professional life on LinkedIn. I also try and connect with someone via social media within 48 hours of meeting them in person. This helps to solidify the relationship and ensures they remember me. For LinkedIn, I recommend an app called Cardmunch.
- Conduct a social media audit every few months. Social media platforms are always changing, and so are you! Therefore, it makes sense to review each of your profiles every few months and see if there are new features you can take advantage of. In addition, it’s important to double check your privacy settings. I did a privacy audit on my Facebook profile a month ago and discovered that I had accidentally displayed my birthday on my timeline, egads! That’s information that I definitely don’t want out there because of the risk of identity theft. It’s important to always check on the safety of your personal data.
- Always keep your profiles up to date and try to make a status update at least once a week. One of the best ways to succeed on social media is to post consistently and as frequently as possible. When your profile reflects your current work and you make regular updates, people are more likely to want to connect with you.
- LinkedIn is your new best friend! Be sure to take the time to fill out your profile completely – and don’t forget about your profile picture. Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn! (3) To get some tips and tricks for which sections are most important, and how to fill them out read my blog post: What Sections of Your LinkedIn Profile Matter Most?
- Look at your peers, or other people you’d like to be connected to on social media and see how they’re using it. If you like what they’re doing, match your online behavior to theirs. For example, a lot of the clients that I’m trying to work with have 500+ connections on LinkedIn, so one of my goals is to build my network to the point that I have 500+ connections.
- Always keep clear boundaries between your personal and professional identities on social media. Sharing bits of your personal life so that people can get a better sense of who you are can be an important part of authentic branding. However, always be wary of sharing too much and try to steer clear of politics and other sensitive topics. Make privacy settings work to your advantage! For example, on Facebook you can specify what groups of people see your status updates allowing you to keep your personal and business updates separate.
- Get on Twitter and use hashtags. My favorite platform for networking and meeting potential clients is Twitter. Because Twitter is entirely public, it means that you have 140 character to connect with anyone else that’s on Twitter. My favorite Twitter success story is the time I got retweeted by Governor Kitzhaber! The proof is below. If you’re at a large event, consider using a hashtag to join the conversation on Twitter and see who else is at the event that you can connect with. To learn more about Twitter hashtags and how to use them read my blog post: What’s a Hashtag – and How Can You Use Them?