Digital Networking Turns Pink Slips to Pay Checks

08/10/2009

Computer woman Cultivating relationships has always played a critical role in business success. This post is dedicated to my dear friends and yours and perhaps you .. people who have unexpectedly found a pink slip instead of a pay check.

The first advice to folks on a job search seems to be to activate or reactive your network. Let's take what we've learned from social media marketing and make it work for a job search.

There are two aspects involved in creating a winning support system:

1. meeting people who are willing to offer their help and friendship 

2. maintaining those associations.

As our lives grow more complex attending networking or professional organization events becomes a challenge to schedule. Even meeting colleagues across town for a coffee chat is often difficult. Then comes the time investment to nurture fledgling friendships.

As the world spins smaller what happens when your network extends not just to the next city or state but across an ocean? To put it simply, how do you meet people and then stay in touch?

The answers can be found in what might be perceived at first glance to be cold and impersonal … the World Wide Web. The Internet has morphed into an important catalyst for developing and sustaining digital relationships. Through social media tools such as blogs, social networking, online boards people are changing how they interact with each other.

Interestingly, women use social networks differently than men. A recent study by Rapleaf, a San Francisco consulting firm, indicates women appear to spend more time on social networks building and nurturing relationship while men spend their time acquiring relationships. According to Rapleaf the net result is the about the same number of people in both circles.

Developing digital relationships are not much different from the relationships you might make at a Chamber of Commerce event. At the core they are comprised of similar values: mutual need, support, trust and respect. Digital relationships hold a few extra benefits that may not be immediately obvious:

1. If you are shy meeting people at offline events the “fourth wall” of the Internet might make it easier for you to participate in conversations. People appreciate comments on their blogs, profile walls and Twitter @responses that add value. Your thoughts can be 140 characters a la Twitter, a few paragraphs on your own blog post or short video posted on your Facebook page and YouTube.

2. Dropping into a social network site like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook can be done at your convenience whether at 5a or 5p or midnight. You can engage at your computer or on your mobile phone extending the flexibility even further. You determine how long you stay - a few minutes or a few hours.

3. Similar to building your offline network, social media provides opportunities to “meet” friends of friends.
A few ideas to help you jump start building your digital relationship network:

1. Explore the a few social networks. When you build your profile, to prevent spam consider using a different email address from your business or personal email. The following Big Three have become the core platforms for many business professionals.

LinkedIn’s focus is business networking making it an ideal first step into social media. I think of LinkedIn as your digital Rolodex combined with your online resume. Resource: from EZine Articles - How and Why to Network on LinkedIn.

Twitter allows only 140 characters per message or "tweet.” A Twitter strategy can be used not only to grow your professional network but to reinforce your position as a expert in your field. Resource from TwiTip - 8 Twittering Network Tips.

Facebook offers the option to create personal pages, business pages and group pages for brand “fans.” Resource: from About.com Using Facebook for Professional Networking.

2.Don’t feel obligated to follow/friend everyone who knocks on your virtual door. Sometimes less is more. Take time to read profiles to help you determine who you want to be a part of your community.

3.Participate in discussions in the same way as you would in the offline world. Be yourself. Let your personality come through in your words, on videos or in a podcast interview.

4.Adding value to the conversation will reward you faster and better than a continuous stream of promotion about how great you are .. it's a two way conversation online and offline.

The results are you’ll develop a global network that you can tap into for resources, information, support, advice where you can control where and when you meet-up. Don’t be surprised if the connections you make turn into real friendships that lead to offline meetings! While digital networks are fast becoming a critical aspect of business relationships nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting over a cup of coffee or sharing a meal.

Note: The post is based on an article I wrote for the Sun Journal.

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Comments

Valuable post Toby. And I agree with your 3 social media outlets, that's what I have started with as have a number of people I know. It's sort of a 'big toe' in the water versus just jumping in. A smart approach.

Posted by: Katie Bromley on Aug 12, 2009 11:52:41 AM

Thanks for the post."Maintaining associations"is very important as far as jobs are concerned.Gained a lot of knowledge as to how to bring in the social media sites as far as job search is concerned.

Posted by: Website programming on Nov 3, 2009 12:12:07 AM

As our lives grow more complex attending networking or professional organization events becomes a challenge to schedule.

Posted by: cheap computers on Feb 27, 2010 2:03:48 AM

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