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Social Media = Enhanced Networking 2.0.

April 28, 2009

“Dude, I have 1,000 followers, how many do you have?”
“Man, you’re slacking. I’ve got 2,500 people that love to know what I’m doing in 140 characters or less.”

superstock_1444r-2639551It’s a social media pissing contest. But here’s my question: Would those 2,500 people recommend you for a job? Do they find value in at least one of your updates daily? Do they find value in your blog? Do they link to it regularly from their Twitter and Facebook? Do they ask you to guest post?

To me, social media is networking 2.0. Yes, you heard correctly. I dropped the 2.0 bomb. Does it replace networking? No. Does it enhance it? Absolutely. For those nervous about walking up to a stranger at an event and networking face to face for the first time, you can network via a social networking site and show your true colors. Once you’re more comfortable, it might give you the confidence boost to go to the networking events and put yourself out there.

So, how can you network?

1. Engage people you follow. Have an interesting story? Link to it. Ask people what they think about it. If they RT it, ask them what they liked about it. “Hey, thanks for the RT, what did you dig about the article?” DM people your blog and ask them what they think. My friend Narciso does this very well – He always DMs me a blog link in case I missed it, so I can check it out and comment. He engages me during the day and asks how I’m doing, so it’s not a self promotion at all. If you see an update that you think is interesting, respond to it.

2. Talk about things other than professional: It’s great to know how you act in the professional world. I love reading your blog and engaging you on topics that deal with PR and journalism. But I want to know the real you. Would we get along in daily life? Would I feel comfortable kicking back at Happy Hour with you? Social media can be a great blend of personal and professional life, without compromising character. I don’t want to hear about how you got completely wasted, but if you went to a winery, I want to know what you liked about it and we can connect that way. Networking is all about finding common interests and building relationships. Relationships = trust, and I want to trust you enough to pass along that resume. By sharing personal things about yourself, you are turning into a person, rather than a professional bot.

3. It’s all about who you know: I, for one, hate this statement. Sure, it can be all about who you know that can get you in the door. But it’s how well you know that person that depends on how far they kick you through said door. Find common interests. You both like golf? Talk about the Masters, then move on to professional goals. All work and no play makes you very dull indeed.

The best part about networking 2.0? When you meet them at a networking event, follow up with an e-mail or handwritten thank you note that it was nice to meet them. Look for them on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. Engage and make sure that they remember your face. When that job opportunity comes across their desk, you want to be the first one they think of.

*Image taken from and copyright of SuperStock.com.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2009 1:35 pm

    Lauren – I love this post and it really resonated with me. I am generally a pretty shy person when I first meet people and it takes me a bit to become comfortable. I used to HATE going to networking events and would always kinda awkwardly stand against the wall or pull out my cell phone or something. I was very uncomfortable randomly going up to and talking with people.

    Enter social media, and Twitter in particular. At the last event I attended, several people there actually “knew” me from Twitter! So I felt an instant connection and could bypass the weird introductory small talk that makes me feel so uncomfortable. I have so much more confidence knowing that these people already know and respect me based on my interactions with them online. I can enjoy their company and share ideas instead of being self-conscious and worried about meeting them for the first time.

    @amymengel

  2. April 28, 2009 1:53 pm

    NICE POST, Laurne! And thanks for the mention – very honored to be noted in a positive light here!

    One of the great things you noted here is something I did when I first got onto Twitter…I listened and paid attention to what was going on. Some days I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere on Twitter. But, listening really helped me in three big ways:
    * it providde a good framework of how the conversations were being held
    * it gave me good examples to follow
    * it allowed me the time to learn

    Only after doing this was I able to tap into what Lauren calls Networking 2.0…and it’s been all that AND a bag o’ chips!

  3. April 28, 2009 1:56 pm

    Great post…funny you should drop the “networking 2.0” concept. It’s absolutely crazy how much sense that makes.

    These days, there is no difference anymore between our personal and professional lives. The more that someone can show all sides of yourself, the more human they’ll appear to others and the better/deeper connection they’ll make. And social media can be incredibly helpful in establishing those relationships – it’s never been easier to find a group of people with whom you share interests/common experiences.

    Good stuff, as always, Lauren.

    Jason Sprenger
    @JasonSprenger

  4. Jason Keith permalink
    April 28, 2009 3:19 pm

    For me, the line that really stood out was, “Sure, it can be all about who you know that can get you in the door. But it’s how well you know that person that depends on how far they kick you through said door.”

    Nothing could be more true in today’s day and age. Because of social networking, everyone knows or can say they “know of” someone, but to be willing to truly go to bat for them and essentially put their neck on the line, is something completely different. By applying many of the suggestions outlined here, you can go from “knowing of” someone to “knowing” someone, and that can mean all the difference on so many levels. Really a good outline and topic. It’s not the amount of followers, it’s how many truly great ones that you would actually care about that matter.

    For me, that’s what social networking is all about. I’m still learning and relatively new to it, but finding out about who people are and what they are all about is what I want to get out of it. From there, all the other stuff will fall in line.

    Your great posts also make me think that I need to start up my own site/blog. I need the practice and I’m just missing out I think!

    @jaykeith

  5. April 28, 2009 3:24 pm

    This is the first blog post I’ve read this morning (remember, I’m on Pacific time) and it will be hard to top. You summed up really nicely why social media/networking has been such a quality of life enhancer to so many of us.

    Two other positives came to mind. People give a lot in social networking and so lots of opportunities come up to really show a person how appreciative you are of their knowledge and/or resourcefulness. And that feels good on both sides.

    Also, it makes it easy to connect people to each other. I like it when I can connect two of my twitter friends somehow and then they start following each other and start a twitter “relationship.” Which reminds me, isn’t it funny how our real life friends (who aren’t on twitter or don’t blog) give us funny looks when we talk about someone and label them as our “twitter friend.”

  6. April 28, 2009 3:32 pm

    I’m new to all of this and what you say makes sense to me. My idea when I started LinkedIn, Twitter, FB, Tumblr, etc was to help promote myself first and if that drives people to engage me personally, then professionally, great. I’m a work in progress and I’ve got to hone my writing skills. I also know even though I’ll err, I’m not trying to vandalize the web. I’m also smart enough to realize that less is more, esp if the content isnt there or I don’t know what I’m talking about.
    What disappoints me can also serve as a lesson in what not to do. The spammers, check out my blog, wanna make money…and so on.
    When I go to a party, I dont take business cards. I’m more successful when people ask me what I do. I keep it brief and they will let me know if they want to learn more.
    My social media goal is to meet more people, establish good friendbased relationships first. I know that people can stop following as easy as they started. So, as soon as the vandals of the internet teach me what not to do….I’ll probably unfollow…I hope it’s not you.

  7. April 28, 2009 7:23 pm

    Well written article which clearly states the direction marketing and networking is heading. I recently did a presention to our office about LinkedIn and many people are starting to use it. It has been a great tool for me as our Director or Sales and Marketing.

  8. April 28, 2009 8:39 pm

    Great post, Lauren. Social media evolved out of networking in order to enhance it, but I think sometimes people get so caught up in the ‘pissing contest’, they forget what it actually means to interact. Personally, in life in general, as well as online, I would rather have a small group of people I trust and cooperate with, people who I am able to have mutual relationships of teaching/learning and sharing opinions with, rather than a large group of people who just float around the perimeter.

    It’s my view, the more people bring this into their everyday communication strategy, whether personal or professional, the more they will get out of the relationships they have.

  9. April 28, 2009 9:30 pm

    I just look at social media as a kick ass ice breaker. You can’t beat it. It lowers the risk for both parties and makes engaging on a familiar level that much easier.

    The thing I love about it is the complete randomness that sometimes occurs. I use it primarily as a means to meet pr/marketing types who I can learn from (or partner with) to improve my blog/consulting company. But I find random people that don’t fit into that specific mold all the time (and often those people can be just as interesting).

  10. incaross permalink
    April 29, 2009 1:24 pm

    Excellent post. It has provided me with some tidbits to describe social media to my clients.

  11. Chad Sour (@cmsour) permalink
    April 29, 2009 2:47 pm

    I like your comments on “It’s all about who you know.” I had a professor back in the day that would always say “It’s not who you know, it’s who you know that knows what you know.” Makes total sense – you could have all the connections in the world, but they have to know what you’re good at, your passions (professional and personal) to get your butt in the door.

    Great post, Lauren.

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