Ah, the changing landscape of networking…I wanted to connect with you about the social media networking vehicles like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Naymz and Facebook to name just a few. It’s amazing how many of these have popped onto the scene and it seems everyone is racing to create a professional profile and build a professional network using the latest technology. I, too, have fallen prey to the novelty of it all, and I’ve been finding the etiquette and ethics of what is and is not appropriate in each one of these tools to vary. So, how are we to navigate these waters?
Recently, I posted a question on Linked In to my network about the appropriateness of using Linked In to promote a new product I wanted to announce, as well as a new product of a colleague that I wanted to announce. Interestingly enough, the responses I got back were all across the map! Apparently nobody knows the answer to what is appropriate and/or ethical with regards to using these networks for online marketing, but everybody had a personal preference or opinion about what it should be or not be.
So, if you’ve read Seal the Deal, you know I’m an advocate of integrating your marketing, networking and sales activities, and doesn’t it seem like these new social media formats are the perfect vehicle for just that? Well, beware, dear readers! Right now the internet world of social networking is a wild, wild west and we’d be wise to exercise caution in the following ways:
1. Beware of brand impact. Do not create for yourself an accidental brand by posting photos of you engaged in various stages of debauchery on your Facebook page and then being shocked when your prospective employer (or current employer) or prospective or current clients use that data in their decision-making. Your credibility is as important on the internet as it is when you’re wearing a suit and trying to be professional!
2. Beware of the name-gamers. There are a lot of folks who are just out to get as many names as they can in their networks, but these are the equivalent of empty calories.
3. Your online networks, like your real-life network, should be filled with people you know, trust, have an actual relationship with or experience with, and with whom you have some genuine human connection.
Remember the Nine Mindsets of Networking! Social networking works best when you follow the same principles of regular, real-life networking. Social networking online is no substitute for the actual activity of real-life networking. It can complement your actual networking activities, but should not replace them! If you don’t know the Nine Mindsets of Networking, you can find them in my book in chapter 8 or when you purchase the Seal the Deal Audio Success Kit, now available at http://www.innovativeleader.com/successkit/index.htm anytime.
Also, available is an audio page onhttp://www.innovativeleader.com/audio.htm that allows you to listen to up to 12 FREE podcasts that you have full permission to share with others!