How to use social networking to succeed in business

Rich Hein

Creating a Collaborative Environment

In order to innovate, companies need to create more collaborative user-friendly environments. Social media and the Web are providing the tools to make that happen. More teams are staying connected with suites like Campfire, Yammer and other online collaboration tools. To stay relevant you need to be where the innovation happens, and if it's in one of these collaboration suites, then you better get involved or get left behind.

Being an Industry Thought Leader

How will people know about your genius if you aren't out there sharing your experiences in places like LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, Quora and other communities? Whatever you do, whatever industry you are in, the Internet has a place for you to interact with like-minded professionals that facilitate collaboration and sharing. So don't be shy, get out there and start asking and answering questions. Demonstrate through your postings that you are an engaged and informed leader that knows what's going on within your specific industry. "You can raise your profile in other ways too - answering questions on Stack, contributing to an Open Source project, marketing your own open source project on SourceForge. With the new recruiting tools that aggregate information, recruiters are expecting to see passion related to your work. So, I recommend tech professionals do something to show that commitment to their craft," says Goli.

Social Networking Online

While there are thousands of articles that cover the various ways to network on the different social networks available, the problem according to career coach and strategist Donald Burns, is a lack of focus. Many people fall into the trap of blindly networking with everyone when the key is to be more focused. "...many people start 'networking' because they've been ordered to do so--beaten over the head to keep networking--but just connecting with people is not enough. You must be connecting with people to reach a target. In my humble opinion, that's the problem with 'networking', people aren't clear about what they're after. When a job seeker has a clear target, a red-hot passionate, well-defined position at a particular company - then connecting with the right people is much easier," says Burns.

Start a Blog or Column

Many of us work in our various industries with the intention to become thought leaders. Writing a blog is great way to share your knowledge, insight and show off your troubleshooting prowess. "Creating content is a powerful way to build your personal and professional brand online," says McGarrity. When most of us are interested in doing something new, one of the first things we do is search the Web to find someone who has been down this road before to get an idea of what to expect.

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