Build a Business with Social Strong Signal
Networking can get you a job, drum up business and help you make friends. But networking online is a little different from what many of us are used to.
Being part of a social networking website can help you build connections. Prospective employers and customers can search for you and learn if you are the right fit for their business.
A good example of a social networking website for business is LinkedIn. This site allows users to post their profiles, to build network connections, to answer questions (in order to build a good reputation) and to search for jobs and new employees.
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But there are some concerns about social media websites. Most importantly is privacy. I know on my profile, I posted contact information, a fair chunk of my work history and other details that I might not necessarily give out to anyone passing by. But I've also gone into the settings for my accounts and limited who can see my information.
I'm also careful what I post on networking sites. Facebook is a social network for college students, which has recently become notorious among employers. Employers hiring recent grads now make it a point to search for the profiles of potential employees, and they can look at photos of wild parties or whatever else isn't protected on your profile. There are a million examples of why it's worthwhile to maintain professionalism on your profile.
So, considering how all that bad stuff, how can you use social media network sites to your benefit?
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Get Connected with Other People
You can use these sites to make yourself easy to find, even for people who don't know they're looking for you. If, for instance, a magazine is searching for someone to interview about sailboats, and you've posted on your profile that you are a sailboat expert, they can find you just by searching a network.
You can also reconnect with people from past jobs or school. Most sites will ask for those details and will have easy to use search functions to find everyone that graduated from Washington High School in 1973.
There are social media websites for every topic, as well. Flickr allows users to post photographs and connect through their pictures. These can spark conversations and help you to network. CarDomain is for car enthusiasts; Last.fm is for music aficionados.
Get Started the right way
Create an Appealing Profile
There is one very important thing to remember when creating your profile: include your website. Social signal sites can be very useful in bringing people to your website. If you don't have either a personal or professional website, make sure to include a reliable method of contact. An e-mail address that you check regularly is ideal. After all, if you're trying to get in touch with new contacts, it's important that they can reach you.
It's also useful to include details like your specific skills and why you're great at what you do. It's even better if you can include specifics, along the lines of doubled our circulation last year, or nine out ten of our clients come back for more.
Examples of why people want to do business with you are great. Avoid mentioning generally contentious topics (like politics or religion). You're online to build your business, not to start an argument.
The last tip I can give you for networking online is to always proofread. It only takes a moment to catch an error before it becomes an embarrassment.