By now most people have created a robust social presence online. It’s easy to update a resume on LinkedIn, blast off an occasional tweet, and maintain a tasteful Facebook profile. But is that enough? Now, more than ever, professionals are going a step further to engage in online communities.
What does it mean to be social engaged in a community? Think about it in terms of how we act in actual social settings. Let’s take, for example, engaging with a group at a networking event. Normally, we’ll introduce ourselves to a group, begin with some small talk, listen, insert a comment or two as it relates to the conversation, and maybe find a way to connect after the event.
Now, what would happen if a person came up to the group, started talking only about him/herself, made comments simply to say he or she made a comment, ignored the others, never engaged with the actual conversation, and left suddenly? You get the picture.
Thinking this way in terms of social media is no different. What we commonly see is too much one way communication online. On a personal level, interactions can be heavily weighted towards talking at others and not listening or responding. Ideally, the goal is to develop your online social presence by identifying the right people to network with, listen to the thought leaders or communities, ask questions, answer questions, provide insight or a different perspective, and focus on providing quality information. Below is a short list of ways to help you improve your networking through social media.
Ways you improve social media networking:
- Reach out to engage others and introduce yourself
- Be genuine
- Listen to the community’s conversation
- Content – think quality over quantity
- Engage with questions, re-tweets, and offer new perspectives
- Respond when others engage you, this includes answering questions
- Find relevant communities and thought leaders in line with your interests and profession
- Be aware of maintaining the balance between listening and talking
- Bring the online community offline – reach out to meet in person or attend a thought leader’s conference
- Build on relationships – remember interesting facts about a person or conversation to reference during a future connection
Try these social media networking tips and see what happens on LinkedIn, Twitter, and the other channels you’re engaged on. There’s a whole world of opportunity online. Best of luck engaging with it!