What makes social media “the” tool for networking?

Networking, communicating with others, has always been one of the key specificities of human beings, driven by the need to learn from others and to share our own learnings with our environment.

We, as humans, like to connect to each other and we have discovered over the past years some wonderful tools who make it even easier, faster, more convenient, to communicate with others.

Social media has indeed become extremely popular amongst us. Many of us use at least one of the famous social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. either in our professional environment, either in our private life.

Social media is a primary vehicle of communication today, and because much of that communication is public, it’s no surprise most of your business partners, colleagues, clients, recruiters and managers are tuned in.

 

What is the major challenge related to this technology?

One needs to understand and acknowledge that everything that goes on the web, stays on the web, somewhere, more or less hidden, but always available to read and to share with others. The “erase” function is a quasi non existing function so we all need to be very careful about what goes on the web !

The major challenge we are facing these days is to educate ourselves in order to avoid a hyper communication situation where too much information is available, and where this information, although making sense at one stage of our life, will become toxic information at a later stage of our lifes.

 

Use social media according to its potential

We from OTP, as a Human Resources Consulting Company, would like to share some thoughts, remarks, tips and tricks with you to make sure that, whatever tool you use, you positively enhance your professional image and do not jeopardize your opportunities.

Every day, we work with and help individuals to find a new professional position, to develop their own company, to manage change and to improve overall communication skills and techniques making sure we work together efficiently. Social media has become an extremely popular subject and tool which is, according to our quality standards, only very rarely used at its full potential.

If you agree with this statement, then we encourage you to continue reading… and to share the following tips across your network.

 

What we would like to share with you

If you have already a profile, your first step will be to “clean” it by removing any “too personal” information and to rebuild it keeping our motto in mind: “any communication you do should only improve your image, develop your notoriety and increase your recognition as a professional, engaged and trustful person”.

As from here on, we will specifically focus on LinkedIn, third most popular social network in terms of unique monthly visitors after Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is extremely popular for professional networking, i.e. to research information on people and companies and make contact.

  1. Choose your objective: Only if you have defined your objective will you be able to achieve it by creating your appropriate internet presentation. Do you want to find a new job, enhance your reputation or contact potential clients? Decide on your priority.
  2. Headline: create a headline which works like a mini value proposition; to do so, use action verbs and simple active language.
  3. Professional photograph: a recent professional picture will increase your attractivity so that your profile will be viewed more often, people will interact with you and you will develop your network.
  4. Contact information: make sure people can contact you in an easy and convenient way. We suggest you do not provide your private contact information but at least some professional contact details such as your company’s website and email.
  5. Your professional development: write a short and straight forward description of yourself, so that people can easily and quickly learn some basics about your professional development.
  6. Keywords: optimize your profile to be found by a search by those keywords you want to be associated with. Choose the most appropriate keywords and adapt your profile correspondingly to make it happen.
  7. Your competencies and skills: emphasise your professional competencies skills and activate your network to get the confirmation of your professional skills, to do so, endorse the skills of your contacts.
  8. Your projects and articles: boost your credibility by promoting the projects you are working on and by adding articles about you or written by you.
  9. Join Groups: find and join groups related to your industry or niche and become an active participant in two or three of them.
  10. Share your Honors and Awards: optimise your profile for talent seekers by including Honors and Awards which were awarded to you.
  11. Interests: publishing your interests will optimise your profile for keywords related to your activities.
  12. Invite: when asking to connect with a new contact, use “we have done business together” rather then “friend” as LinkedIn is a professional networking social media platform.
  13. When invited: be selective in your contacts. If you do not know the person you may ask for the reason of networking. Quality is more important than quantity! Once connected: write a short greeting.
  14. Volunteer experience, Organisations and Causes: showcase those you care for. According to LinkedIn, 42% of hiring mangers surveyed said they view volunteer experience equal to formal work experience.
  15. Be active daily! It takes at least 20 posts per month to reach 60% of your LinkedIn audience.

Social Media is used by recruiters, not only to have a more clear idea of who you are and what you have done before they even talk to you, but also to pick up clues about your personality and how you might fit into their corporate culture. It’s not used to dig up dirt but to get information that could possibly give you an advantage.

The future is in your hands, make it happen!

Serge Claus
OTP Geneva

 

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