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Professional Networks and Social Media

Relationships and conversations.

May 12, 2015
 
I’m often asked about the best way to establish a “presence” on social media. My answer is always the same. Think of social media in terms of relationships and conversations.  
 
Career success is increasingly determined by both your skills and your networks. Professional networks must be built on reciprocity, service, and caring. 
 
It is important to establish that you have something to contribute to the conversation that is your discipline. It is equally important to spend your energy, and your professional capital, doing whatever it takes to assist colleagues in your field.  At some point in your career you will need to lean on your network. 
 
If you choose to invest in social media, think about your posts, comments and tweets as conversations with colleagues. These colleagues may be people you already know, or they may be colleagues that you have not yet met.  Some of your most important professional colleagues will be people who you have never physically met. They can be people that you listen to, and who listen to you.
 
The biggest mistake you can make with blogs or Twitter is to worry too much about comments or followers. Focus on using your social media platform of choice as an opportunity to build your professional network. Be selective in who you read, who you comment on, and who you follow. Be grateful if anyone takes the time to listen to what you have to say. 
 
There are no shortcuts to building a professional network. Your network is built one colleague, and one relationship, at a time. A few close colleagues, even those that you have never physically met, is better than hundreds (or thousands) of readers, commenters, or followers.
 
How will you stop thinking about social media numbers and start thinking about social media in terms of relationships?
 
How has social media helped you build your professional network?
 

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