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Social Networking is it a Boost to your Career

Using social networking can be a great way to advance your career. You will be able to connect and communicate with people who may be able to provide links to job openings, help you meet other influential people, and generally increase your professional network. Over time, you may be able to use your contacts to find work whenever an attractive opportunity comes up. 

Proper Etiquette Is Key

While it is never a bad idea to ask an executive or a senior-level person within a company to be part of your online social circle, it needs to be done tactfully. The same is true if you ask to gain access to the social circle of an executive who may have spent years cultivating their network for specific reasons. What you should do is offer something of value to that person such as access to your blog's readership or information that could help that person advance his or her business agenda. By offering something of value, you come off as a professional proposing a mutually beneficial relationship as opposed to someone looking to shortcut to getting a foot in the door. 

Your Social Network Is About Adding Value to the Community

If your goal is to simply connect with others at your level or to grow your network of contacts in your region, it is important to offer content that everyone will find useful. In addition, you should make it a point to thank others for their contributions, respond to direct messages on social media and keep community postings of your own work to a minimum. By showcasing everyone in the community or by offering a variety of sources of content, those in your network will be eager to hear what you have to say. 

Keep Postings Positive

Remember, your professional social network is different than your personal social network. You want to maintain a professional tone and attitude at all times. While it is fine to mention that you like a certain sports team or root for your alma mater's basketball team, you shouldn't post pictures of yourself tailgating before the game or make headlines for anything that you wouldn't be proud to show your mother or your kids. By refraining from saying or doing anything embarrassing, you enhance the value of your contribution to your network and cultivate a positive reputation.

Quality Is More Important Than Quantity 

Having thousands of followers may not be effective if those followers aren't paying attention to what you are doing. What you are after are followers who interact with you and can help you advance your career. Generally, it is better to have five followers who are connected to Fortune 500 companies and can increase your visibility in the corporate world as opposed to 1,000 followers who just scrape your content or spam your inbox. 

Wilson Neely's Linkedin account and others like his are the perfect examples of what you want to do with your social networks. Effective social accounts provide a good overview of what the person does, his or her background, and why he or she is worth connecting with. When people know who you are and what you do, they can make an educated decision as to whether you are a good fit for their circle.