After a long hiatus from blogging, I’m eager to share with you what I’ve been up to …
I tend to approach any new techno fad with reservation and caution. I’m definitely not one to jump on the band wagon following the latest gismo, gadget or application. Actually, I just purchased my first Blackberry data device after taking a closer look at my needs … will a Blackberry help support my goals, or will it become a new toy and addiction?
I used the same approach with Social Networking … will building a social network help support my goals, or distract me from them? Here are my results …
Some advantages I’ve discovered with social networking:
Compared to standard contact databases, social networks are much easier to keep current & updated – a data base requires constant monitoring and updating as contacts change companies, positions and their contact information. Social network profiles are maintained and updated by each individual contact.
News feeds – a wonderful resource for checking in with your contacts and seeing what they’re up to. You can then choose to comment on their status, their links or pictures they’ve uploaded onto the network … a great way to increase and expand your visibility, and the visibility of your products/services.
Status updates – keep in touch with your contacts by letting them know what you’re up to, what’s new & exciting in your business, share an interesting article or observation, and post a question to provoke a discussion.
Access to your contacts’ network connections – this provides you with an endless resource of individuals to tap into, and, if used appropriately, becomes the equivalent of warm calling (vs cold calling).
Social Networking is free – no cost (for most basic memberships), just your time!
Focus groups – it’s easy to join a group (or create one) of individuals with like minded interests, or within a particular niche, industry or specialty. Once again, this has the potential to vastly increase your visibility to people you otherwise would likely never reach.
Marketing tool – keep your contacts posted about your business, products or services instantly & cost efficiently.
Some things to be aware of:
Time management – participation in social networks can be very addictive. Learn to manage your time wisely, because it’s easy to get caught up in social chit-chat or discussions that do not directly support your goals.
Personal touch – you can use social networking to start or reinforce a relationship, but building a strong business or personal relationship typically requires a face-to-face connection as well. We are human, after all!
Your goals – does social networking support your goals, whether business or personal? Will it help or hinder you from achieving them?
ROI – what is the return on investment for you? Is your time spent on social networking helping you grow your business, build a support network, make new friends or meet a potential life partner?
Intent – what are you expecting to gain from social networking? Are you joining social networks because it’s “the thing to do”, or do you have an actual intention to achieve something; an objective?
Choosing a network(s) – which social networks will work for you and which ones won’t? This is a very individual decision based on having clear intentions, goals and objectives for your social networking. Where will you find your target market?
Stagnate profile – if you create a social network profile be sure to keep it fresh and lively. Update your contact information, experience and status updates regularly. Maintain visibility and accessibility to be a valuable asset to your network.
I am not a Social Networking guru. I have, however, spent the last few years building a number of networks using several well-known social networking tools – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, Ecademy and others. My personal experience has been that, when used effectively, social networking can be very rewarding, both personally and professionally. Below, I have added links to my favorite social networking profiles/pages … I look forward to connecting with you online!
What is your opinion of Social Networking … and how is it working for you so far?
If your business or personal growth is being negatively affected by a lack of networking skills, perhaps it’s time to reach out for support. I would be delighted to work with you and explore techniques and strategies to help you network effectively and benefit from the virtual world of Social Networking. Please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your complimentary coaching session.
Ulana Chabursky, Business & Personal Growth Coach
Together, let’s unleash the networker within you!