The Social Networking Etiquette Guide- Part 1

Technology has enabled us to communicate and connect with each other faster than at any point in history. Mobile technology has pushed the envelope even further allowing us to connect on the go. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, Google+, etc. provide forums for people to connect with one another to share information, pictures, and emails, thus classifying them as social networking sites.

imagesCAGEOSCEWhile technology has made it easier to connect, there is still a social etiquette we need to follow when socially networking. For example, have you ever received a “networking” invite from someone you didn’t know? Chances are if people don’t know you, your request will be ignored, or worse deleted. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social tools to network or meet new people, but sending a connection request to someone you don’t know is a social faux paux.

Most people think that the bigger your network is, the better it is. I would challenge that assumption. Quality is no substitute for quality. While you may think that having more people in your network means you have the potential to hear about more information, think about the purpose of your network request. If you are networking to learn more about a subject area, hear about jobs or interact, consider networking through groups.

Here are some etiquette tips to successfully socially network on LinkedIn:

  1. Start with your own profile- The first thing people do when they get your network request is look up your profile. By putting yourself out there you need to be prepared to be looked at and judged. People will be looking at you to assess whether it’s worth their while to connect. People don’t want to network with a blank profile. Take the time to enhance your profile by adding a picture, updating your summary and work experience and skills. Your profile is a reflection of you, what first impression will you make? Social etiquette tip, don’t start seeking connections until your profile is presentable.
  1. Join groups or alumni. One of the most under estimated resources available to people are LinkedIn groups. Groups are one of best ways to engage, meet new people, participate in discussions and find jobs. The best thing? You don’t have to individually connect to anyone to join. Groups allow you to take time to cultivate a relationship, and get to know people. Think of it as dating without a commitment. Social etiquette tip; once you start to build relationships take it one step further and network one on one. This builds the quality of your network.

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  1. Group interaction. If you are participating in a group, remember, everyone has an opinion. That opinion may not be the same as yours. Social etiquette tip; when commenting or sharing your opinion, don’t belittle someone else or dismiss their comments. Share your opinion and be respectful of others comments.
  1. Ask for introductions. If you want to connect with someone who is a 2nd degree connection, (connected to you through someone else), ask your direct connection to make an introduction. Social etiquette tip, be prepared to articulate why you want to connect, not simply to “network”. This will help the person making the introduction craft a better message. People are far more likely to respond and read information from someone they know.
  1. Send a Message before sending a connection invite. Most social networking sites allow you to message people you don’t know. Social etiquette tip, rather than send a connection request, send a message introducing yourself and the context of your request to connect. This gives the recipient some more information about the nature of your request. Once interaction take place it makes sending and accepting the network request more genuine and relevant.
  1. Be Relevant: When you need information, help finding resources, or are looking for new staff/jobs, reach out to your current network and groups for help. Post a status update on your profile and groups so it appears in your networks newsfeeds and groups discussion thread. Social etiquette tip, don’t bombard people with information. If you start to clutter your networks new feeds, chances are you may be moved to the “hidden” and no longer show up on newsfeeds.
  1. Networks are for sharing: Networking etiquette isn’t only about receiving, it’s also about giving. Have you received an InMail that someone in your network may benefit from? Social etiquette tip, share information that is relevant and beneficial to your network. Sharing information will build your credibility and keep your network interactive.
  1. Cultivate the relationship. Networking is ultimately about building relationships. It shouldn’t be treated in a just in time way. Meaning, don’t reach out only when you need something. Good networking takes time. Successful networking is exemplified by having regular interactions. Social etiquette tip, add a social component to networking. Reach out to your network to touch base, have a causal lunch or meet up at an event.

What tips do you have?

Ann_Nov_2012

by Ann Barrett- Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

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Get Your Career Plan Into Shape

It’s the new year. We’ve made our resolutions, committed to losing the “holiday weight” and thought about what we will do differently this year. For many of us this includes making a career move.

Career planning is typically treated like dieting. We only focus on it when we want to make a change. Once we achieve our goal we stop. Successful career planning shouldn’t be thought of in a just in time manner, instead it should be approached in the same way as a healthy lifestyle. We can build mental exercises  positive thinking and networking into our daily routine creating a more holistic approach to career planning. Over time this daily regiment will help us grow, develop and learn where we can shape our own career path.

Here are some quick things you can build into your everyday routine to get your career plan in shape:

Exercise Your Mind:  Getting into shape means exercising your body and mind. Your brain needs to work out to be alert and focused. The more your brain works out, the more you stimulate creativity and build memory retention. Here are two key mental exercises you can start doing today:

newspaperRead something new every day: With so many blogs, eBooks, audio books, articles and news items, there is a plethora of rich content available for consumption. Technology has made it even easier to access and read information on the go through an eReader, iPad or smart phone. Reading is an important element in development and education. It’s a way to actively listen to content being presented and form an opinion about it. Expanding the scope of what you read is also important in building your comprehension skills and getting your creative juices flowing. Keeping up to date on new developments within and outside your industry or profession will also keep you relevant and allow you to contribute new ideas and perspectives in your job.

artLearn something new: Life is busy and we often get consumed by our routine to break out and try something different. Career balance is about being well rounded in a variety of areas within and outside work. Taking on something different not only challenges us to move outside our comfort zone, but may also reveal a hidden talent! Learning something new contributes to both your personal and professional growth and may help steer you in a career path you hadn’t considered before.

Socialize: Meeting new people sharpens your interpersonal and communication skills. Socializing on a daily basis is a great way to get introduced to new ideas which can energize your creative juices. Here are two ways to stay actively social:

meetNetworking– Connecting with people within your career stream or industry on a regular basis can foster interesting discussions and ideas which you can leverage in your current or new career. Social tools such as LinkedIn make it easy to connect and participate. Why not join a group on LinkedIn and start a discussion?

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Meet people in person: Can you participate in your next meeting in person? If so, take a moment to have that meeting face to face. Meeting people in person helps build relationships and trust. It also gives you an opportunity to practice and show off your communication and presentation skills. This will come in handy in your next career move!

MC900433947Market Yourself: In the era of social media everyone can create their own personal brand. What do you want people to know about you as a professional? No one knows more about your accomplishments , projects you’ve worked on, awards, recognitions,  etc. than you. Update your LinkedIn profile with your projects and awards. Have you had positive feedback? Ask for recommendations or endorsements on LinkedIn. Your profile will help you to track all of your successes as they occur.

excerciseHave a positive outlook: Is your glass half empty or half full? Getting in shape means focusing on the larger plan, not only what happens today. Feel good about the work you produced. The way we feel about our successes affects our self-esteem, concentration, relationships and the way we approach our work. A healthy outlook focuses on the positive, our glass being half full.

Which of these will you start doing today?

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategies