How Social Is Your Online Social Networking?

Article by Donna FeldmanDo you conduct your online networking using the same social skills you use at an in-person event, or do you leave those skills behind the minute you log in to a social networking site?

No matter where you do it, networking is about building relationships. That requires good social skills such as listening, asking questions, making comments, and sharing information about yourself. It’s about engaging people in a way that creates a real connection; it’s not just about communicating who you are and what you do.

Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other form of social networking, here’s how you can be more social online and create a real connection to others:

1. Just like at a networking event, to join a conversation, start by listening to what people are saying and when ready, dive in.

  • On Twitter, join a conversation with an @reply to someone’s tweet.
  • On Facebook, comment on a post someone made.
  • Share a link to a website or article you found of interest.
  • Make a comment about something you saw, heard, or read.
  • Retweet an item of interest.
  • Share something someone else posted.
  • Share something about yourself: a picture, a link, an article, an opinion.
  • Share an event you’re attending or an event that may be of interest to others.
  • Ask a question.
  • Answer a question.

2. Be professional. Don’t say something you wouldn’t say out loud to a room full of potential customers and referral partners.

3. Don’t pitch, sell or promote with every update. You don’t want to be like the person trying to close a sale at a networking event.

4. Don’t send too many messages.While there’s no exact number, use your judgment, so you don’t appear as a pest.

5. Don’t put everything on automatic. While it’s okay to automate some of your messages, you don’t want all of your messages to be an auto post. You want to actively engage with people.

Think of your online networking the same way you would if you were networking in person. Be visible, be consistent, and engage in stimulating conversations. You’re still dealing with people, even if you can’t see them. Just remember to keep the “social” in your online networking and you’ll create long-lasting, fun relationships.

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