Using Social Media As A Networking Tool

Social media networking rules of the game
Social media works quite well as a networking tool if you do things right. Follow these rules to keep your posts professional and on track to make solid connections.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin… just a few of the social media sites that are now a household name. Even our President uses it to his advantage. But is there a right and a wrong way to represent yourself online? I say: absolutely.  I am here to share with you some personal insights on how to properly represent yourself in order to network and make real connections through these amazing social media platforms.

Social Media Rules of the Game

General Etiquette

A young woman networks with someone via instant messages on her phone.
  • First rule: Stop posting your personal feelings about EVERYTHING. Keep your private life private. A lot of us grew up surrounded by people “airing out their dirty laundry” online. But the ones who really matter – the people hiring you – don’t want to see it. If you have the slightest inkling in your head that, ”Maybe I shouldn’t post this,” the chances are you shouldn’t. So don’t.
  • Second rule: Once you connect with someone in social media, SAY HELLO! Thank them for the add or request. Maybe mention how you know them or how it was cool to meet them. Start treating social media like real life. If you meet someone at a bar you don’t just say, “be my friend!” and walk away, do you? No, you don’t. You converse, find common ground and engage in one another’s lives. SO, before you go creeping on all of the photos and posts, say hello!
  • Third rule: Don’t just hit the “like” button and scroll away. When you are networking in person it’s ok to say, “Do you have a Facebook or Instagram? Let’s keep in touch!” Friend them but actually KEEP IN TOUCH! If this is someone you hope to work with or learn from, make the connection worth it. Drop them a message once in a while asking how their trip to Spain was and tell them how it looked like a ton of fun!

Developing a Strategy

Man talks on his cell phone outside
  • Fourth rule: It’s ok to use the connection you made in person to reach out to that person’s friends! People do this, it’s a thing. Again, treat these situations as real life. Once you make a request to a person you don’t actually know, shoot a private message introducing yourself and sharing how you’re connected with them.For example, “Hey you don’t know me personally, My name is Erin! Hi 🙂 I recently met Tom Jones at the Banquet event, I noticed we have a few mutual friends, thanks for the add!”10 times out of 10 they will write back saying something along the lines of, “I love Tom, he’s a great guy! Nice meeting you!” Then you can proceed to saying anything you’d like such as, “I noticed you work the head of banquets. That’s a pretty awesome gig! If you ever need a hand with the events please don’t hesitate to reach out! I have a ton of dining experience and a pretty open schedule.”

These kind of connections can be made daily, and it is especially important to stay positive and private with your posts when making connections like these. Before even responding to you, this person will most likely take a peek at your profile. If they see 100 selfies, 5 posts about your dying cat, 2 posts about how you hate your sister, 6 posts about how you don’t feel good and how life is hard…there’s a 100% chance that they will NOT be coming to you when they have an opening at their workplace.

Play Smart

  • Fifth rule: I know you have heard this many times but I will say it again: if you post it anywhere (ANYWHERE!) and delete it later, it is NOT gone. Once it’s up, it’s out there and people will see it, read it, and share it. Be smart about what you’re posting.
  • I will leave you with this final rule: Go through and clean things up a bit. Erase the stupid cat videos and the posts about how you puked last Friday. Share posts about positive things and the people who make you happy!
    Follow these rules and take advantage of literally having the world in the palm of your hand everyday!

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