Networking. Images of suits and small talk. Handshakes and business cards. The thought of it sends an introvert like me into flight mode. Thankfully, this view of networking isn’t truly representative of today.
Face to face gatherings for relationship building definitely have their place, but what has become a new norm is social networking on social media platforms. Done well, social networking can be an effective and efficient way to attract new opportunities to you, no matter your goal.
Everyone has a network of colleagues (current and former), friends, family, school alumni, customers, suppliers, etc who are on social media. Chances are, your personal and professional network is on LinkedIn. The largest online professional networking site, LinkedIn has 645+ global members and is growing rapidly – more than two new members per second.
The big question is, “Are your social networking skills up to scratch?” Whether you’re looking for your next sale, your next collaboration or maybe your next role – good social networking will attract opportunities to you with a little bit of thinking and an investment of your time.
How To Improve Your Social Presence
1. Define Your Purpose For Social Networking
Taking a leaf from Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, how great leaders inspire action, you must first know your why and define your purpose for networking socially. For example, you might want to learn from other professionals, deepen your customer relationships, find and engage with prospects, or maybe you’re on the hunt for a new role. In defining your purpose from the start, your future social activity will be targeted and specific driving quicker, high-quality results.
2. Make Your Social Profiles Shine
Once you define your purpose, review and update your social profiles to reflect and support your purpose. Reviewing and updating your LinkedIn profile is a great place to start. Simple tips to optimise your LinkedIn profile are having a quality headshot photo, a background image relevant to you and a keyword optimised headline.
If you’re serious about professional social networking, consider a presence on Twitter or Instagram too. The key is to ensure your social profiles are consistent and are working towards your defined purpose.
3. Determine Your Content Themes
Simply put, “What do you want to be known for?” Taking the time to determine your content themes is beneficial for several reasons. First, it will make consistent social media presence easier. And importantly, by being specific around the content you share and the content you engage with, you’ll attract opportunities aligned to your goal.
You may want to consider 3 broad themes – one personal (something you’re passionate about), one professional (relevant topics in your field) and one aspirational (content connected to your ambitions)
4. Be Brave And Engage With Your Network Consistently
It’s not uncommon to fear being judged or looking silly when you’re getting started with social networking. You must be brave and put your thoughts and views out in the world. Like most things, you get out of it what you put in and you’ll attract what you put out. Sharing, commenting and reacting consistently with your unique voice and perspective will be the driving force of bringing best fit opportunities your way.
Lastly, don’t fall into the time trap - the biggest perceived barrier to consistently investing in yourself and your social network. You can be socially active in just 10 minutes a day with our Coffee Cup routine as we know that a structure to managing your social networking time will help you form a new routine.
Investing in your social presence might seem like a ‘nice to do’ or be on your ‘one day’ wish list. Remember that investing in yourself now is a way to gain security for the future. Don’t wait until you’re in need to get started. Get started now, help others where you can and see what good comes your way.