When you’ve been around the block a few times in your career, handing out your business card and giving your elevator pitch in 60 seconds becomes second nature to you.
But just when you’ve mastered the art of in-person networking, along comes a wide range of professional online networking groups that promise instant connections, meaningful relationships and new exciting career opportunities.
With all these new ways to promote yourself and your work, comes a great (read: frustrating) number of ways to make new networking faux pas.
So what pitfalls should you look out for when you’re networking online and how can you avoid being seen as a social networking pariah?
Here are 4 strategies to help you navigate the world of virtual networking with panache and grace:
1. Identify Your Purpose
The number and variety of private Facebook groups offering space to connect with others, exchange ideas and ask questions is not only significant, but an easy way to make hundreds (if not thousands) of connections fast. Before requesting to join a group, ask yourself if the purpose of it is aligned with what you want to achieve or at the very least an interest of yours? In other words, why join a blogging group because it has more than 10,000 members when you have no intention of starting a blog?
2. Know The Rules
3. Give More Than You Take
If you’ve joined a group to further career opportunities or build relationships, take time to build up a name and profile on the page before diving in to request support and/or advice. Being overly aggressive and requesting more, more, more (including offers to buy, buy, buy) can come across as pushy and obnoxious, so before you make any requests or promote your business, make sure your known on the page as providing and supporting others too. People are more likely to help you, if you’re known to help others.
4. Treat Others As You Wish To Be Treated
When I first started my career in PR, my Dad gave me the best piece of advice: Never put anything in writing that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
Back then he was referring to communication via email, but the same can be said for social networking.
If you wouldn’t be rude, mean, judgemental or a bully to a person in real life, do not act that way online. Everything you write is a reflection of you and your professional brand so your comments, posts and questions should hold the same level of respect and dignity you’d have when talking to someone in-person.
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