Technology, used well, can build and nurture relationships. While deep, personal relationships are always most effectively nurtured in person, technology can enhance your ability to develop relationships. But used poorly, or without wisdom and discretion, technology can destroy relationships and reputations.
Here are 4 tips to improve your online presence and grow your network:
1. Develop Your Profile Deliberately
Established with deliberate thought and written well with concise verbiage and quoted references, a LinkedIn profile can open doors to prospective employers, joint ventures, and strategic network alliances. The same can be said with Facebook. I have actually determined not to interview someone based on the nature of things I have seen on individual Facebook feeds. Further to that point, a LinkedIn profile that sits unedited, incomplete, or with inaccurate information is very damaging.
Technology is your first impression to those in your periphery. Prospective clients may determine to move closer or farther away based on what they see or don’t see. Employ discretion when choosing your photographic images, your verbiage, and your letters of reference. Determine how to feature your assets to display them best in whatever medium you choose, whether it is LinkedIn, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. People are watching, and they will make decisions on how you represent yourself.
2. Develop Social Capital
No matter what platform or medium you employ, the goal is to create depth in relationships. This is your “social capital.” Today, some of the best vehicles to grow depth in your business relationships are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Innovative technologies can boost your efficiency by connecting faster and with a broader range of people. You can grow your relationships on these platforms, specifically, by inspiring with quotes, encouraging personal communication, reaching out, and following through.
3. Encourage Personal Communication
Efforts to create top-of-mind awareness are most effective when used in conjunction with in-person connections. My email and Facebook communications often lead to meeting in person. With a visit, a lunch meeting, or even a phone call, the relationship then moves to a deeper level. There is no better reinforcement or self-marketing strategy that trumps a live interaction where genuine rapport can be created and felt. Using technology to initiate a one-on-one meeting, as well as to follow up and stay connected, creates a powerful dynamic.
Who can you invite to lunch? Who can you stop by and visit? If this sounds intimidating, there may be opportunities to work or volunteer in ways that connect you with others. Networking via a shared cause can create connections and bonds that are fulfilling and beneficial. Find something you are passionate about so you can relax and enjoy yourself. This will enable you to communicate clearly and effectively, presenting yourself in a transparent, authentic manner.
4. Reach out
Grow your existing networks, which are the groups of people that you associate with naturally. Church groups, sports teams, and neighbors are obvious examples. After becoming part of a group, find common points of interest with people. People are fascinating. Find out what makes them tick, and you will become a natural networker.
Show genuine interest and support. Collect contact information as a natural form of meeting people and use it to maintain communication. Share articles, recipes, carpooling, and serve their needs and interests as you genuinely can. Showing a genuine interest in people will enable you to naturally and organically grow your network.
In an interview discussing today’s technologies and how they impact the bottom line of professional credibility, founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman stated,
“Once how you treat people, how you work, and how you live becomes part of your network image, then all of a sudden people have an incentive to be good. . . because you live with it for years and decades to come.”
Today’s online accessibility to people’s professional history and reputation through Google search, Klout, and LinkedIn gives new transparency to those researching an individual for a job or affiliation. Take this seriously and build your profiles, your resumes, and your network in a way that promotes growth and success. Step by credible step, you will see the rewards multiply.
Of the 4 tips above, which one(s) do you need to work on the most? What’s holding you back?
David Bradford, “The Bottlecap Kid”, is Executive Chairman and former CEO of HireVue, former CEO of Fusion-io, and a member of the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame. David is known for accelerating the growth and performance of game-changing organizations by utilizing his “UP Principles” which he outlines in his new book, UP YOUR GAME: 6 Timeless Principles for Networking Your Way to the Top. His last two companies, HireVue and Fusion-io are two of the fastest growing tech businesses in the U.S. Learn more about David and UP YOUR GAME at DavidBradford.com.
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