Tips for Using Social Media for Networking
Nearly everybody who has access to a computer or a smartphone uses it for social media in one way or another. It’s clearly a great arena in which to connect with people. There’s just one problem. Because the connection doesn’t happen face-to-face people tend to operate under Vegas thinking – what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. Unfortunately the internet isn’t Las Vegas!
At the end of the first quarter of 2015 the stats looked like this:
Facebook : 1.44 billion monthly active users. 1.44 BILLION! That’s nearly 20% of the entire planet’s population.
Whatsapp: 800 million
Facebook Messenger: 500 million
WeChat: 468 million
LinkedIn: 364 million
Skype: 300 million
Twitter: 288 million
These are the stats for 7 of the most popular social media sites in the western world. It’s not counting the 11 other most popular sites worldwide.
So, let’s say you’re looking for a job and your potential future employer goes onto the internet to see what kind of internet presence you have and he finds those “humorous party pics” you posted last week, or even a year ago, or the rant you posted about your last employer. Are you confident he or she will still want to hire you now? The other thing people forget is that although you may delete stuff off your Facebook page, you can’t delete it off the internet. It’s there for ever. Especially if someone else has already shared your post. But don’t let that stop you from cleaning up your social media pages. Make sure your pages, comments and tweets don’t come back to haunt you – keep them clean, professional and friendly. Using good judgment, intelligent posting and having a non-reactive commenting strategy is a career essential.
What potential employers find on your social media will have a definite influence on their perception of you and in fact, may override the impression you make at the interview.
Having said that, social media IS still a great way to network. Here are five tips on how to make it work for you.
- LinkedIn is the premier professional and business networking site. Make sure you are a member. There are a number of tools on the site at your disposal and you can learn a lot about a person or an organization through the site.
- Build your network carefully. Connect with people in your industry or profession, especially if they are at the top of their company. Follow thought leaders and try to connect with them.
- Connect and follow people carefully. Don’t play the numbers game.
- Share your own content and engage with others on theirs. Remember to keep your comments completely professional.
- Service providers often change terms so make sure you read and understand their service terms.
Protect your precious online reputation and create your own personal brand. Your future will thank you. Keep a sharp eye on your social media through these sites:
- Google Alerts: Monitors where your name is turning up in searches.
- OnlineID Calculator: Measures the consistency of your personal brand.
- Klout: Assesses your level of social influence.
Remember, even if you’re posting a property, room or renter’s profile on TheRoomLink, the same rules apply! Just the other day we removed the photo of a prospective renter that was completely inappropriate – he certainly would not have impressed a landlord with it! Leave the sarcastic comments, profanities, insults and party pics well away, and put that pleasant foot forward!