Do You Maximize Online Relationships?

iStock_000014164067XSmallSocial media is here to stay and hopefully you have begun to include LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites as part of your personal brand marketing. The opportunities to connect are limitless if you are strategic and consistent with your participation.

Here are just a few suggestions for how to make the most of those social media contacts:

  • ·         Keep your profile current: use a professional picture of yourself – not your company logo, a picture from vacation or an Avatar.
  • ·         Post your expertise and now Linkedin enables you to post examples of your work: as of this past week you can also include images and video as part of your profile, so revisit your LinkedIn account and make sure you have made the most of this great branding tool.
  • ·         Join related groups in your industry or line of business: also consider joining generic groups that are local such as groups for your town, county or state. Often these groups have in person networking events – it is a great way to connect face-to-face.
  • ·         Follow conversations and post: join the dialogue – add value by offering additional opinions or suggestions.
  • ·         Post effective comments and content: saying “that was a great article” doesn’t move the conversation forward. Add value and substance.
  • ·         Connect people who could benefit from each other: don’t be afraid to suggest that “A” meet “B.” If they are local to you, consider taking it a step further and orchestrating a coffee – be known as the “go-to” person when people are looking for specific contacts.
  • ·         Ask to connect with people where there will be mutual benefit – LinkedIn offers a generic connection message. Try to NEVER use that message. You can definitely send an invitation to connect to someone you want to know, but don’t, if you just take the time to explain why. “After reading your profile, I notice we are both in the X group and have worked with Y and Z. I’d love to have a chance to pick your brain sometime.”
  • ·         Schedule calls with people to get to know them outside of online: this is great way to take it to the next level. Social media connections are not about having the most people, but connecting with people who will enhance your knowledge, be interesting to you, are people you might be able to help and/or learn from. Sharing a meeting over coffee is a great way to do that.
  • ·         Pay it forward: if you see one of your connections could benefit from enhancing their participation or by meeting someone you know – make it happen. They will thank you. Consider how many people have done that for you in the past.
  • ·         Be Genuine: this is the most important of all. Your on-line brand is a direction reflection of who you are, what you value and what you stand for. Be careful to avoid mixing messages by including your personal views with your business brand. Be real. Be honest. Be available. Be you.