27 July 2016

Online Networking Tips


Online social networking has taken the internet by storm. The rising popularity of social networking sites has attracted users both young and old. What’s more is that these sites are now being used for more than just socializing. Businesses both big and small have found these online communities to be very effective for marketing purposes.

No matter what your motivation may be the key to your social networking starts with posting an effective online biography. Most social sites require that users post a little information about themselves.

These profiles are basically used as ‘filters’ by site members to determine common interest they may have with any member whose profile they may be viewing. It is important therefore that you put a little thought into the short bio you post on the site.
Whether your goals are for business or social purposes you want to be able to connect with other members who best fulfill your intentions or needs.

Let’s now look 5 key elements you should include in your online biography that will make your interactions at any of the social networking sites all the more effective.

Adopt a Unique Avatar

Most every site has ‘default’ avatars that can be used by the members. Take the time and thought to change this. You want to make yourself noticed and not blend into the crowd so the best start is to choose your own avatar.

Personalize Your Avatar

When selecting the avatar that you want to represent you it is ALWAYS best to simply go with your picture. People can better relate to a picture rather than a symbol or cartoon character. Remember these are ‘social sites’ where you’re interacting with real people so be a real person yourself by posting your own picture.

For those of you who are perhaps a little ‘shy’ or possibly part of the Witness Protection Program you can select a ‘character’ that may best reflect you or your personality.

If your intentions at the site are business your avatar can be something that relates to your line of work.

Keep to the Facts

The short bio you post does not necessarily have to be complete but it should contain nothing but facts. Regardless of your intentions by immediately ‘drifting’ away from the truth in your bio you are starting out on the wrong foot. If you intend to create something meaningful from your membership you are not going to be able to do that by ‘building your foundation in the sky.’

Remember once you’ve compromised your own credibility it takes a lot of effort to restore it if you even can. By lying up front you are ALREADY wasting your time and that of others who attempt to interact with you. Be nice, be truthful, or be gone!

The Bio Outline

Your bio should be brief but it will need to contain certain information in order for it be effective for you.
Let’s look at 2 different types of bios and what we should include in them:

1) Personal – this type bio is for the purpose of socializing. You’ll want to include a little about your background, personal interest, beliefs, and any other ‘experiences’ that may be relative to who you are.

2) Business – your bio information here should be more detailed and include what your business is, what you have to offer, any experience relative to your line of work and what your business goals are.

No Selling

If your social networking is for the purpose of business restrict the use of any hard sales pitches within your bio. Nothing will turn people away quicker than being met with ‘in your face sales tactics’ while viewing another members’ profile.

Online social networking can be a very effective means in which to conduct business. Originally established for the purpose of serving as social hubs, online communities now cater to both personal and professional needs. What you need to keep in mind is not to overlook the importance of the bio you post. This is usually the other members’ first impression of you. By focusing attention on the 5 key elements that we spoke of above you will insure that your first impression will be accurate and hopefully favorable but certainly not misleading.

08 December 2015

Why Bother Networking? Is It Worth It?

What Is Networking?

Networking is a common term today within any industry. It can have two meanings – the process of linking computers and other devices together so they can communicate, and the process of meeting and talking to other people to help your career. This article is about the latter.

Networking is the process of meeting people, talking to people and getting to know them, with a long term aim of helping your career. It’s done by a lot of people and it’s good to know what’s involved and why you need to do it.

Why Should I Network?

One of the most popular phrases in the working world (which you’ve probably heard before), is the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This means that knowing and associating with the right people can be more important than what you know or what you do. It aims to remind you of the importance of people skills and networking.

There are many reasons why networking is a good idea:

Keep informed of career opportunities in your industry
Learn about ideas and trends in the industry
Meeting new people
Understand more about other areas
Developing your communication and listening skills
If you’re considering a career change, or looking for new opportunities for a promotion, you should be looking to network whenever and wherever you can. You don’t always get a promotion or change that’s just handed to you – you need to be able to find out where they are and take your own steps to get there.

How Can I Network?

Well, the answer to this is to get out there and talk to people. You can do this at work, at social events, at different meetings, wherever people in your industry or workplace are together. You don’t even need to be in a group situation – you could be talking to a single person.

Essentially, you make conversation with people and get to know them. It doesn’t always have to be work or business related – it can be a personal conversation. However, you need to know why you’re networking and why you’re there, in order to have an appropriate conversation.

How Can I Get Better at Networking? 

There are a few things you can do to be more effective at talking to colleagues. Some of these could be:

Think of the reason you’re meeting people. Is it to find out what’s happening in your company? Are you looking for any new job offerings? Or something else? Knowing why you’re there will help your discussions.
Networking is about being mutually beneficial to both people. Realising what you have to offer is a good thing to do.
Get a business card made for yourself, if you don’t have one already. It should, at the very least, have your name, email address, and phone number on it.
Practice your “soft skills”, which include listening, body language, and conversation skills. These come with practice and experience – in a future article I’ll write about how you can do this.

Hope this article helps with your networking. What are your thoughts? Post your replies in the area below.