27 Sep Social media: network maintenance – part 2
Increasingly, collaboration and information-sharing are becoming more important in the job market. The effective cultivation and curation of your professional network has, perhaps, never been so crucial. The real question is: how do I make meaningful connections with people in an increasingly digitised world?
These are some of the things you can do to ensure that you stand out as both an effective communicator and a valuable connection:
- Follow and tag people (or companies) considered established thought leaders, trendsetters, and who are up-and-coming influencers in posts you write and share. They will probably appreciate the tag and acknowledgement because it shows that you have taken the time to get to know them and what interests them. Be careful, though – it is important to use discretion and common sense when you tag others. For example, you don’t want to tag someone who has confided that they are looking for a new job in a public post: if their employer sees that it could make things very awkward for them. It also indicates that you can’t be trusted with sensitive information. If you do see a position they may be interested in, rather send them a DM with the link.
- Send personalised and carefully-considered invitations when you choose to connect. There is nothing worse than receiving a connection request that is a) accompanied by a generic and/or vague message or b) says nothing at all. Take the time to read through someone’s profile carefully and explain why you want to connect. You can also ask a mutual connection for an introduction.
- Don’t spam people! It is simply disrespectful to mine your contacts’ email addresses and send them unsolicited or unwanted newsletters. This is one way to really annoy your contacts and make them not want to do business with you, especially if no opt-out clause is included.
What happens if you find yourself in the awkward position of having to reject the advances of an over-zealous contact who is clearly looking to sell you something, or who is eager to climb the social (media) ladder? You have two options: be diplomatic and tell them that you find their messages overwhelming/pushy, or unfollow them. If they really don’t get it, you will have to remove the connection altogether.
Maintaining and growing your social media networks takes a fair amount of time and effort, but, if done well, you will reap the rewards for years to come. You want to connect with the right sorts of people, and you will learn how to do this by following the steps outlined above as well as by trusting your own instincts. It isn’t as scary as it sounds – so start small and practise until you become more effective at introducing yourself and the values you represent (in non-offensive ways).