How To Use Social Networks to…Network

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If you’re like me, you have changed your approach to networking over the last seven months. As we have learned in our chapter, we can all find new clients by watching out for each other on Facebook. But Social networks are multifaceted tools being used to create awareness, promote, and build relationships!

Here’s how to use social networks to network (build new, mutually beneficial, long term relationships!).

Networking Isn’t a Once-and-Done Task.

People who are serious about managing their businesses understand how important it is to have a pool of people to interact and share ideas with. This doesn’t just happen overnight. Pick up some of the habits of “power networkers:”

  • Build and nurture connections for the future
  • Embrace a pay-it-forward mindset
  • Show interest in what others are doing and saying

Smart networkers focus on the needs, wants, and desires of others and obsess less over the need to find a job. Successful networkers know that when they show generosity toward others, it can and usually does come back to help them in the future.

LinkedIn Connections Can Power Your Success

LinkedIn can help you stay connected with people you’ve worked with and people you know. It also allows you to meet new people who work for companies you are interested in working with. Savvy networkers realize you can’t just meet someone one time and expect results. The relationship needs to be nurtured. This can be done by monitoring LinkedIn in several ways:

  • Congratulate a connection on a new job
  • Share a connection’s status update, always giving him or her attribution.
  • Compliment or give a shout-out to a connection by mentioning his or her name in your status update
  • Monitor a group’s discussion feed and look for opportunities to add to the conversation. You may have a different viewpoint, a success story to share or be able to offer help.

Facebook Friends Can Help

According to the Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study, 76% of social job seekers found their current position through Facebook. These social job seekers are mostly ages 30 to 39, college-educated, with annual incomes greater than $100,000. Social job seekers report using Facebook to:

  • Find contacts sharing job opportunities.
  • Tap contacts who could provide an employee perspective on a company.
  • Share a job opportunity with a contact.

Engage on Twitter

When you use an open network like Twitter, you can follow anyone you wish. And you can even send anyone a public message by tagging them (using the @[handle]). Strategically follow people who work in companies you would like to work with. (You can use Twitter’s Advanced Search function to find people using the company name.) Once you start following these company insiders, you can and should:

  • Re-share appropriate tweets
  • Participate in a Twitter chat
  • Add your two-cents to the tweet
  • Reply to the person who shared a helpful tweet and explain why you liked it

If you do this with some regularity, the person will usually respond.

Continue to look for things you have in common, such as shared interests outside of work, colleges, cities of residence, etc. You can leverage any of these common interests to take the relationship to the next level. Most people who hang out on Twitter want to interact and build meaningful, worthwhile relationships.

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