How to use social networking to succeed in business

Rich Hein

"Networking as an executive in any profession or industry is possibly one of the most valuable ways to build credibility both personally and professionally. It won't happen naturally and requires significant investments both in time and fostering business relationships, but can yield long lasting return on investment both in business, leveraging referrals, new business, and opportunities to advance your own career," says Laura McGarrity, Vice President of Marketing at Mondo, an IT sourcing and staffing firm.

Employment Opportunities

If nothing else motivates you about social networking then consider this -- The days of working for one or even two companies for your entire career have all but gone away. Those days have given way to a world where CIOs last on average four to five years while IT pros average somewhere around three. Looking for a job is hard work and takes a long time. In surveys, a majority of people find their next position via an introduction through networking. What that means is that social media and social networking have become woven into the fabric of the job search process. In addition that reality, there are other compelling reasons to join in.

Immediate Feedback

Finding your next job is one reason but there are a few more for CIOs and IT managers to consider, such as immediate feedback. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have given people who care enough to get involved and interact at a one-on-one level with their customers, their peers and their staff. Places like Twitter require a tough skin, but the payoff is honest feedback from the people who use your service or product.

Services like Twitter offer almost immediate feedback, which comes in handy when a new product, service or feature is launched. Sage IT managers and CIOs monitor these places to see how their user base is reacting and interacting to their new launches. "Twitter is a tremendous asset for tech professionals. It feeds the need for instantaneous response," says Shravan Goli, President of Dice.

Building your Dream Team

Hiring IT pros has become increasingly difficult, as headhunters and staffing firms can be cost-prohibitive for some businesses. But thanks to places like LinkedIn, SpiceWorks and various job boards there are more places than ever to look for fresh talent.

LinkedIn is especially helpful in finding the passive candidates for your team, allowing you to search for people by geography, years of experience and various skills, among other things. "I use LinkedIn to connect with others, whether it be potential candidates for a job opening I may have, vendors, usually through group discussions, or with other IT leaders," says Jeffrey Hurley, Vice President and Head of Technology for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

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