The world has jumped on the social media networking craze and, at times, it appears that individuals and organizations have done so without much thought. Social networking is typically an Internet-based group of individuals, organizations or associations that have a common belief, interest or cause that have come together to share their interests or ideas.
A recent University of Phoenix-Career Builder.com Build Your Career Event identified the Top 10 Business Networking Sites as: ryze.com; plaxo.com; linkedin.com; yahoogroups.com; biznik.com; cmypitch.com; cofoundrer.com;efactor.com; econnect.com; and networkingforprofessionals.com. To how many of these sites do you belong or have you accessed?
A study by global PR-communications firm Burston-Marsteller noted that 54% of Fortune 100 companies are using Twitter; 32% use a blog; and 29% actively use a Facebook fan page.
Consider the following if you participate in Internet-based social networks: What message are you sending? Did you realize that these sites are defining your business and personal brand? Does it accurately represent your brand image?
Does your online brand matter? CareerBuilder.com indicates that one-in-five employers use social networking sites to research candidates; 59% of hiring managers are influenced by an online brand; and 53% of adult Americans use search engines to find information about each other.
Google yourself and see what your online brand says. You may be surprised. And do not forget that even though you may delete comments or pictures from a specific Internet-based network, those deletions remain out on the “Internet” virtually forever for anyone to find.
Seven Social Networking Tips
1. Create a personalized social network strategy. What do you want your online brand to say about you; what are your unique selling points; why should someone rely on you or do business with you.
2. Develop your social networking goals, direction and an action plan for implementation. Write it down.
3. Build it before you need it. Work on your brand and strategy now. Begin to develop your online “tone and voice.”
4. As you join sites, choose quality over quantity. You cannot be everything to everyone and joining many sites and not keeping your postings current, may dilute your brand.
5. Be professional in your profiles, postings, and responses. Never post anything you wouldn’t want to see in the paper or have your mother read.
6. Be patient. It does take a while for your consistent brand to take hold. Do not add fluff or blue-sky.
7. One size does not fit all. Let your online, social networking brand fit you.
Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.compasscareer.com to learn more about social media networking and your brand.