The 6 Commandments of Social Networking

While I often see young professionals engaging on Facebook, their use of other social networking outlets that may be professionally valuable is fairly minimal. Maybe they post a profile on LinkedIn or create an account on Twitter and follow a couple of people, but it takes more to use these outlets for professional purposes.

All social networking is not the same and most people understand that. While the Facebook format be easy to pick up, some make take a little longer to understand and use. Each format has unwritten rules of connecting with other members and how you post in general (i.e., frequency, level of formality, language). Now, tack onto that using it for a professional purpose and not a personal one and it’s clear why many people are avoiding engaging on these other social networking sites.

It takes some reflection in advance to think about how you will use social networking for professional purposes. But in the end, it can be worth all the extra effort. Here are some things to consider as you venture into the world of professional social networking:

1) Spend some time “lurking.”
Sign up for account and actively watch others who have mastered this social networking outlet in the manner in which you would. Find other professionals in your area and see what and how often they post, who they make follow or connect to. Take notes on what you learn or actively practice it. This will help you develop a road map for yourself. Now, don’t get stuck “lurking,” eventually you will have to post and engage to make it useful.

2) Find time to use channels regularly.
Most of these other sites like LinkedIn, Twitter or even blogging, will generally not be as enticing as Facebook, but schedule some time to be on these sites each week or even better, multiple times a week. The more you are on it, the more that you will get the hang of it and dare I say, maybe even enjoy it.

3) Take on one at a time.
If it’s overwhelming to tackle a few at the same time, start with one, get engaged and then move forward to the next.

4) Think about your brand.
What are trying to communicate in terms of your professional image? Whatever qualities and skills might be part of your brand–they should be pervasive throughout your different social media accounts. You should at the very least be showing your engagement in the current events and trends, general information about your field.

5) Move beyond the fear.
There is often a great deal of trepidation in starting to use social media for professional purposes and really this is nothing new. Most people struggle with the networking part of professional life and job search much more than other areas. You need to get started, learn from errors and move forward.

6) Don’t just set up a profile or have account.
Use the power of your social media to help you get to the place you want to in your professional life. But it takes, being an active member to reap the rewards.

Author Lisa Orbe-Austin

Leave a Reply