The word networking conjures up so many thoughts and words. What do you want on or off-line networking to do for you? How do you want to be perceived on the different networking mediums. Does this matter that much to you or are you a mild observer or a light or non-participant on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like?
To power up more effective networking for jobs, career advancement or anything consulting so-called social media presents a nearly unlimited landscape to build your brand and tarnish it. Because the information about social media tips, techniques and advice comes so rapidly it means most of us need some kind of distillery mechanism to find out what’s important and what’s not important.
Most people want the social shares and interaction that it brings on these mediums. So many people don’t see the business behind it as much as they should. These social engines are simply multi-billion dollar business tools that can help or harm your career power.
Here are five ideas to power up your business on what I call professional media:
1. Turn On Listening Power – use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other “social” media to follow companies, information and issues related to your target industry. Find information, people, groups, events, ideas and activities central to your career and brand purpose. Turn down the temptation to share. Listen more and share less; this is good networking advice in person also!
2. Focus Your PR – you are your own PR machine on LinkedIn and really any “social media” regardless of whether you work for a company, own your own business or just use it to stay connected. Find a career coach, a proven brand smart group of friends and colleagues who will guide you through whether or not you need to write articles, post or comment online – personally or professionally. Will it advance your career or detract? Do not assume you know.
3. Online Behavior Matters – do assume everyone watches everything you do on every platform, even Snapchat. I know your snaps disappear and I know most of you have kids on Snapchat but you are not on it. No matter what teach your kids and you should learn if you have not learned the hard way to not share anything you wouldn’t want to be in the public. You do not have any privacy online, even if you think you are private on sites like Facebook. Assume everybody can see your photos, your activity and your posts.
4. Social Media Is Professional Media – treat social media as only a professional should. Only share parts of your brand or personal that enhance your career, volunteer or outward goals. Slow down or be completely intentional about the personal sharing. Make sure it is authentic. People vent and they love talking about politics in 2016 but is that going to enhance your business relationships or detract from those relationships? I hear you – your advice takes the fun out of these platforms. It’s good advice folks even if you don’t like it.
5. Build a Personal Brand Plan – in career transition we work with clients on many areas of their career. We get to work on a disciplined approach to their personal and professional brands because their career is at stake and there are deadlines. But the advice goes for most of us online. Go into the usage of these online so-called social media platforms with a written plan and one that you can stick to for a long time. This seems counterintuitive and it is but it will save you time, energy, embarrassment and more.
Use time to build a calendar and online discipline to create a plan of action during your career search, your brand building and your dissemination of information. Then you just tone it down when you are hired because you should NEVER stop networking and more importantly building relationships that can last and amplify your brand.