Social media take on many different forms: newspapers, magazines, newsletters, internet forums, web logs (blogs), wikis, podcasts, webinars, and the list goes on. Some are principally one-way communication (magazines and newsletters) and some provide a way to connect, virtually, with people all over the world (internet forums and webinars). Each of these mediums provides opportunities to meet people and develop relationships in your personal network.
Let’s look at a few of the available social media outlets that you can use & when to use them:
Great forum to connect with people on issues of a more social or personal nature. Here you might learn that a business acquaintance has just started taking flying lessons (something on his bucket list), see photos of a friend and his family on vacation, and discover connections with friends of friends that you might never have met otherwise.
Great professional & personal networking forum. A place to have your professional presence available for anybody to see–even if you aren’t actively looking for the next gig. This is a great place to seek introductions from somebody you know and to somebody that you would like to know. You can expound on your professional capabilities and your work in the community, connect to groups of other professionals to exchange ideas, and get business leads.
This is a fast-paced environment. Lots of information in a short period of time. I look at Twitter a few times per day and read a few news feeds of just look at the activity. Occasionally I will search on a topic, especially current events since news travels faster on Twitter than most anywhere else. Twitter is also a great way to get a small piece of information (140 characters) to a large number of people in a short period of time.
Flickr is one of a host of picture-file-sharing sites. This can be both personal and professional. For the professional, or budding amateur, photographer this could be a great outlet for highlighting your work. Many other sites like this are available to help you keep in touch, through photographs, with people in your network.
Don’t be afraid of social media. The learning curve for these forums isn’t that steep. Spend a little time on the sidelines observing then dive in. Make it part of your daily routine. Your goal should be to learn more about others, and help others learn more about you. Remember, people do business with people they know and trust.
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