Habits of the Effective Social Networker

18 03 2011

Social – “pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations” or “seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly” (Dictionary.com)

Networking – “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest” (Dictionary.com)

Social networking is, therefore, a supportive system of being friendly and developing/maintaining relationships with individuals and groups.

The most essential habit of effective social networking is to be active!  If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!  No, I don’t mean LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter will close your account if you don’t use them regularly.  However, you will lose the real value of the connections you’ve made – you won’t be relating with, sharing with, and supporting those with whom you have established relationships.

How do you actively use social media and be an effective social networker?  Here are some tips:

  • LinkedIn – check your Network updates regularly.  When you notice that someone has found a new job, transferred or been promoted, make a comment of “congratulations” and wish them success.  Periodically, check the profiles of key contacts in case you missed an update.  Use your Status to keep others informed of noteworthy things you are doing, and also share articles and blog posts that you think might be of interest to them.  Also, share job postings for your connections who are job searching.
  • Facebook – connect with your Friends, business colleagues and customers (and potential customers), and interact with them. Share photos of your life (especially your children) and good times, and view and comment on theirs.  Share interesting and helpful information with others about your community, upcoming events or other items that might be of interest.  (Don’t share your opinions about sensitive topics like politics or religion.)  Stay informed – one of my friends is in sales, and she looks at her client’s Facebook profile before meeting with them.
  • Facebook – use the Birthday reminder application and write a “Happy Birthday” post on their Wall.  You can also send them a message.  It takes little time and effort, but it lets them know you’re thinking of them.  It means you have to check your “Events” on a regular basis, or you’ll miss one (or more).
  • Twitter – learn about others by following them. Use Twitter to find interesting and helpful articles and posts to share with your Twitter followers (you can also share them with your connections and Friends on LinkedIn and Facebook).  Use Twitter etiquette to re-tweet others’ posts, mention them periodically, and acknowledge when they re-tweet your posts or mention you.

Here are some additional tips for you to turn into habits for effective social networking:

Always!!!  Be genuine and sincere!  Be yourself, be thoughtful and be friendly.   You can show some humor – people like to know your personal side.  Do so in good taste.  Remember that what you think is funny, others may think is crass, sarcastic, insensitive or uncaring.  If you’re not sure, don’t post it.

Always!!!  Be careful with your reputation – don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to read (including people who are not connected with you directly)!  Be careful with your identity – don’t share information that can put your identity or privacy at risk (full birthdays, home addresses, your children’s school, etc.)!

Have fun!  Being social is about interacting with others, so enjoy the relationships with your friends, your colleagues, your clients/customers, and others with whom you meet out there in social media land!

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