Networking is an important part of establishing working relationships, building careers and creating potential job opportunities. Social media outlets can help many professionals expand their professional connections and network more effectively. Understanding and using certain techniques for connecting with professionals, such as networking with social media, can increase your list of professional contacts and help you develop powerful communication skills.
In this article, we discuss why networking with social media is important and list eight steps you can follow to network more easily with social media sites.
Why is networking with social media important?
Networking with social media is important because it can help you build professional contacts through a modern and continuously growing medium of communication. Understanding the fundamental steps to network more efficiently with social media can improve your skills with written communication and attract the attention of potential employers, customers or clients to your portfolio and experience networking with social media
Here are eight steps you can follow to learn how to network using social media:
1. Write a brief personal message
Writing a brief personal message when first contacting individuals can help build a professional relationship immediately. It’s important for the message to be brief because sometimes people may read your message on smaller screens such as a cellphone or tablet and they might prefer a message they can read quickly and efficiently. Being personal allows you to connect with the individual you’re contacting and show them you want to start a professional relationship that can benefit both of you.
When writing a personal message, it can be helpful to refer to the individual by name, introduce yourself and mention a person or thing that connects the two of you. Sending a message that mentions either a common interest or mutual friend can help create a foundation that can allow the relationship to grow. Finally, end the message with your reasons for reaching out. Some examples of personalized messages include:
“Hi Stacy, my name is Edward, and I noticed from your profile we both studied marketing at Francis University. I would love to connect with you and find out how you’ve been doing in the marketing field and perhaps see if there’s any advice you can offer me.”
“Hey Arman, my name is Gretchen, and I believe you might know Nori Hampton. She and I went to school together, and she mentioned that you were now working for a consulting firm in Boston. I’ve just started as a consulting analyst and would love to know if you have any tips to share with me about the career.”
2. Network with individuals at all working levels
When networking on social media, individuals sometimes focus on connecting with higher-level individuals in their careers or fields. Though these connections are still beneficial in providing you with possible tips or job opportunities, consider trying to connect with employees at all working levels. This includes those at the training, entry, supervisory and management levels.
If you communicate with someone who is on a similar career path as yourself, you can grow together in your relative positions offering assistance and advice to one another as you develop a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s also possible that individuals you network with who are in entry-level positions may continue to build their careers and someday be able to offer you a job opportunity or position. These professionals are also more likely to respond to your connection request versus C-suite executives.
3. Join groups or pages of interest
On many social media platforms, there are places where you can join groups or pages that are dedicated to specific topics or subjects. Joining some of these pages can help you find and connect with other individuals who have a shared interest with you. When you join a social media group or page, consider introducing yourself on the homepage of the group and mention your current occupation and experience with the page’s topic or subject.
For example, if a social media site has a page for gardeners, an introduction could be: “Hi everyone, my name is Wendy. I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m currently a work-from-home accountant, and I love the freedom that gardening provides for me and the excuse it gives me to go outside every day.”
This introduction can allow Wendy to inform the group of her occupation and possibly start building professional relationships. These relationships are important because they can provide you with connections from different career backgrounds who can offer you advice, helpful information and even job opportunities.
4. Ask for advice
One great idea to build connections right away is by asking individuals in a managerial or executive job positions for career advice. Sometimes, these individuals remember what it was like starting in the field and have experiences and knowledge that can benefit their career path. Sending a message over social media asking for advice can also create a situation that can develop into a professional relationship. If you continue to build this relationship and communicate with these individuals, you might create more opportunities that could benefit you in the future.
5. Be helpful when you can
When continuing to build professional relationships, it can be important to help other individuals when you have the opportunity because it shows that your relationship can be mutually beneficial. For example, if you’re working as a marketing specialist and you know of a recent college graduate looking for an entry-level marketing job, consider talking with your manager to see if the graduate might be a good fit for the company. It’s always possible that in a few years, the college graduate might be able to offer you advice or help you achieve a new role or position.
6. Reach out to people you don’t know
Reaching out to individuals you don’t know is important because it can help you increase your professional network while developing key communication skills. When you send a message to someone you don’t know personally, it can be helpful to introduce yourself, directly state the intentions of your message and end with a call to action. By quickly stating your reasons for contacting them within a single message, you can increase your chances of a beneficial response and also your chances of starting a new working relationship.
For example, if you find someone’s profile and it states that they’re currently working as a copywriter for a marketing company, your written message could look like this: “Hello Marcie, my name is Stephanie and I recently graduated with a communications degree from the University of Oklahoma. I was reaching out because I noticed you are on a similar career path that I’m hoping to one day achieve. I would love to get coffee with you and discuss how you started your career and figure out the steps I can take to become a copywriter.”
7. Write your content
Some social media websites allow you to create your blogging content. Creating content of your own that targets your current occupation or industry can help show your professional contacts your knowledge and expertise in the field. This can demonstrate your credentials and qualifications to certain individuals without using a resume or cover letter. Sometimes, a professional contact who’s noticed your work might inform you about job possibilities in your field of expertise after seeing your knowledge and experience through your written content.
For example, if you work in marketing, consider writing blog articles that highlight different aspects of the marketing field that might also give tips or ideas on how companies can market more efficiently. This might attract the attention of marketing firms or departments who believe your advice is helpful and could benefit their company. Researching different marketing or industry trends before writing your content can ensure that your content is original and relevant, which can also help show employers your extensive knowledge in the industry.
8. Foster long-term relationships
Encouraging long-lasting relationships versus one-time conversations can help you grow your professional network naturally and can result in more future opportunities from these meaningful connections. Some ways to foster long-term relationships include offering advice with no expectations for anything in return and remaining authentic to how you interact with individuals on a daily basis. This can build a strong foundation for professional relationships and enhance your reputation with your network.
I hope you find this article helpful.