Guest Blog Post by John Lusher, Social Media Consultant and Advisor
Since Adam and Eve, we have been networking. Networking may not be the word that was used then, but we have always taken an interest in others, learned about what they do, how we can connect with them and help them.
Consider this definition of networking: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.
Think about it; haven’t we have always networked with others?
A generation ago, during our parents or grandparent’s lives: they knew whom to call on for whatever the requirement. In smaller communities and towns, they knew he people needed for their day-to-day existence; in larger areas, people listened to the advice of others to recommend professionals they knew and trusted.
It’s no different today than it was then; we are still networking. So, what has changed? Social networking. Social networking has introduced a new way to meet people. Social networking, in this post, refers to the use of social media platforms to start networking with others.
We still network face-to-face, or in real life (IRL); but what has changed most dramatically is how a considerable number of our relationships begin online! The ever-growing virtual environment we live in means relationships, both personal and professional are started as well as nourished online before they move to the IRL environment.
A multitude of tool exist to help you build your network online, among the most popular are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. With each of these tools, it’s good to remember that although these relationships begin through a computer, the same rules should apply as if you were sitting with that person across a table:
- Don’t sell to the people you are meeting online. This is an instant turn-off and will damage you and your network instead of building it.
- The best way to be a better networker is to give something to others. Look to help others; this will be returned to you ten fold. Believe it, it happens!
- Be memorable, but not for the wrong reasons. Be helpful by making introductions for others and by promoting others.
- Be patient. Social networking or face-to-face networking takes time. Take the time to build your network slowly.
- Remember these are real people behind the photos on the screen. Treat them the same you would if you were meeting face-to-face.
Social networking has changed how we network, at least to a certain extent, but it doesn’t change how we should act when we network. We are dealing with human beings; we should always look to give before we expect to receive.
Those are my thoughts; what say you?
John Lusher Director of Marketing & Community Relations for Consolidated Construction Services. John is also a Digital & Social Media/Social Networking Consultant. He helps businesses; individuals and non-profits develop and integrate digital and social media strategies. These strategies include improving online business communications like PR and marketing through the use of social media, community involvement and other technologies. John also works with non-profit organizations, helping them use social media to stay in touch with donors as well as build their own community of support.