How are you using the social networking tools available in LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! Groups, w2wlink.com’s Network Circles, and other online tools? I get asked questions about online and social networking more than any other after I am introduced as a former match.com key player or as the CEO of w2wlink.com, a professional community of tools and networking for women.
Here is an example of how I use LinkedIn to network effectively online.
Pick an objective and be disciplined in the pursuit.
Objectives. My four main objectives are to 1) to network with people I know directly 2) to develop new business for my company, 3) to hire people for my company and 4) to mutually help others in my direct network for their goals.
I use LinkedIn to stay connected to my direct network. (When I was in a larger company I would work with an HR leader to contact within my Linkedin network). People change companies and email addresses at such a high rate. LinkedIn helps me to stay in touch, update info and learn of progress.
Discipline. When I sign into LinkedIn, I am focused on reconnecting with specific people, companies, titles or areas. I catch myself when I begin to wander or spend excess time poking around the site. Some meandering and browsing is productive, but with balance between time spent and achieving my objectives.
I also use other social networks, but I think the key is balancing the objective and the discipline. This includes social networks which I visit in order to learn, explore and stumbleupon ideas. But, that discussion is for another blog post.