Ah, the Internet. The great equalizer. The medium designed to reach more people in less time to expand your brand. I’ve been hooked on the Internet since it was first made available to the masses at home. I’d spend hours on end trying to find as many sites and as much information as I could. Remember those AOL days with the message boards and chats? Remember when social networks first started popping up (and no, I don’t mean Myspace and Facebook). It was the early 90’s when I really took an interest in the Internet and all it could do to help me grow my business and make a few friends along the way.

Fast forward today. There is text messaging, tweeting, status updates, tweet ups meet ups, and so on and so on. We’ve become an instant message kind of society. It’s all about shooting out quick sound bites telling people what you like, don’t like, what you’re mad at and thrilled about. We can leak breaking news, update on critical situations, find out business news or even what Grandma made in pottery class. We can make “friends” with millions of people online. That’s what Facebook and the like sell to us every day. We are on overload! But one thing is sorely missing. You see, in this ever growing, real time, microwave, too much information society. Real communication.

But what do you mean lack of real communication? You just said we can tweet, update and post what’s happening right now. And I have over 5000 friends who I communicate with every day” you might be saying to yourself. Bullshit I say. I love the fact that we can communicate with millions of people at any time, and if our branding and messaging is on point, we might even be able to get some two way dialog going. But there is no way that you are “connected” to 50,000 and realistically having healthy, productive conversations with each and every one of them every single day. I have long since defended the notion that you can have a big network and still cultivate it without looking like some spamming moron. I even achieved it at one point myself. But then the numbers grew and my time got more and more scarce, and I was not able to keep up my consistent “keep in touch” networking.

What happened? Same thing that always happens when you get a few people who claim to be “gurus” at something, package lessons, then sell people on the idea that they can teach them how to become social networking gurus. The space got over saturated, everyone’s messaging became carbon copies of one another, spammers gained control and people started losing interest in hearing from new people for fear that they were going to be sold to pitched to or solicited in some way. The recruiting gurus told companies that social media was the key to recruiting top talent but then didn’t give them the right information to do it correctly. Job seekers thought it was the in thing to blast emails and resumes to recruiters (regardless of their specialty) because they were told by an irresponsible guru that all recruiters are using social media to recruit and they better jump on the bandwagon quick. Celebrities (and internet celebrities) use it to talk about themselves, what they’re doing, where they will be appearing, who they’re hanging out with. How many do you actually see chatting it up with the masses? Not many. It’s all about “me, me, me” with them. Social media and social networking has become a way to blast self important messages and marketing spiels to the masses. Any way you slice it, the ‘social’ aspect is fast becoming extinct.

I have had more than a few prominent people (celebrities, business leaders, “internet” rock stars and prominent personalities) follow, friend or subscribe to be my “friend”. Many of them verified too. No, I won’t name names. I’m pretty sure you can go on any of my social networking profiles and check (the ones that are public anyway), plus they know who they are. I was sincerely flattered because I mistakenly thought that they were interested in what I had to say or in getting to know me. I would connect or follow them back only to get an automated message from them thanking me for following them now go check out something they wrote, created, released, etc. I would send a private note saying that I appreciated the follow but I was more interested in getting to know them and build a REAL networking relationship. NO RESPONSE. My guess is that they are only on there to build their popularity.

You see, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I join a social network, group or whatever, I expect to be social. You know, interacting with others, having two way conversations, and eventually taking the relationship offline. But nooooooo. The massive popularity of social media tools, social networking sites and social marketing have lead to a cheapening of the experience. I cringe every time I hear someone say “social media is a free cheap way to get your message out and capture the eyes and ears of millions of potential customers”. WRONG! Those millions are not meant to be your customer. A smart business person knows that a targeted audience brings much more success. And I won’t even get into how the recruiters out there are using it the absolute WRONG way. I’m tired of being blasted with marketing messages, squeeze pages and links.

Well I’ve had enough, but rather than just bitch about it or try to convince people how to use these tools and mediums the way I want them to, I came up with a solution. Well, I wouldn’t call it a solution as much as a challenge. A few weeks ago, I came up with Operation Social Outreach. Here’s the gist: Every day (or maybe every week if your schedule is like mines) you pick 5 people from your “network” that you really don’t know. You reach out to them and invite them to a quick 5-10 minute phone conversation to get to know one another. Email is not good enough. You want to put a voice with the name. If you’re local, try taking it to the next step and meet for coffee or something. But here’s the kicker. The people you reach out to can’t be people you already know of even communicate with periodically. The goal is to get to know the people you connect with.

I’ve already started this and so have a few others and I have to tell you, people were shocked and pleasantly surprised. It was totally unexpected and very much appreciated. I’m that chick who is going to put her money where her mouth is. I have tons of followers, friends, listeners, connections and readers. But I want to cultivate relationships. I don’t care about marketing messages. I don’t care about having high numbers of followers. I don’t care about being label a social media rock star. I want to get to know the people who are taking an interest in what I have to say. Who knows, they may have ideas and points of view that I want to know about.

I really love that Fast Company has launched the Influence Project. I would love to know if I’ve been crucial in influencing people around the world. But it’s not really ‘social’ enough for me and I can only influence so much by words on a screen. I want social interation. So starting this week, I want everyone to sign up for the challenge. I’ve put together a tracker sheet you can download and use or edit as you see fit. Here are the rules:

· Go to Operation Social Outreach and sign up for an account to post.

· Go in and introduce yourself and tell us about your objective for participating.

· And then each week, come back and report on your progress.

That’s it. You choose whether you want to reach out to 5 new people each day or 5 each week. If the people you reach out to don’t want to communicate with you, it’s time to delete them and move on. They clearly serve no purpose. So why give them the numbers by staying connected? And don’t go looking people up and then connecting with the purposes of reaching your 5. The idea is to get to know the people you are connected to first, then you’ll have good social networking habits in place going forward as you get to connect with more people. This project will be ongoing until December 31, 2010. At that time, we will see just how connected people have become. We will have a special prize for the top 5 connectors (with verification of course). Details to come soon.

I hope that through this project everyone who participates has a chance to really get to know and grow their networks. Are you ready for the challenge? Happy Social Networking everyone!

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

OK, so everyone knows how gaga I am over social media and the act of social networking. It is a key component to my overall networking (and marketing) strategy. Being able to connect with more people in more places across the globe has allowed me to stay up on industry trends, challenge my opinions on certain issues, and educate myself (yes, you can be educated through social networking…who knew!?). I often like to tell people I’ve been social networking since before it had a name! I’ve been using social media since the primitive days (and before that too had a name). As an early adopter I’ve had the distinct advantage on many occasions to get the pure essence of many sites and tools before they became overrun by the masses. Back when people were leery yet excited about the potential of a new site and the opportunity to connect with some great people. The one thing that always sticks in my ass these days is the way people and businesses take a site or tool and “commonize” it (is that even a word?) for all purpose marketing and dare I say harassment. Social networking sites have become a way for people to tout how many “friends”  or followers they have. It has become a sport and even worse, bombarded by marketing messages.

Coming from a recruiting background, I am all about the relationship. I’ve never been big on growing numbers for the privilege of boasting how popular I am. Call me crazy, but that’s never been my thing. I’m into organic growth and real relationships. Granted, I don’t know each and every person who follows or connects with me. But I am trying to make meaningful connections and get to know those people who find me interesting enough to follow and connect with. I’ve put my own quest to connect on hiatus because people are tired of getting invitations to connect. I can’t blame them. I get tired of trying to figure out the motives of those who try to connect. Are they genuinely interested in getting to know me? Do they want to connect and learn more about my expertise and possibly learn from me? Or do they just see someone who’s numbers are growing or who’s been on panels and in articles and want to connect to get a piece of that? Who knows these days. Especially when you get email after email saying “Hi I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linked In” without so much as a hint how they found you or why they want to connect. Well I say enough.

This week I decided I had enough and launched a new social networking project- Operation Social Outreach. No, it’s not an official name or or website or anything, I just like the sound of it. I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of connecting with people or accepting invitations to connect only to receive an automated response telling me to click a link, download a “gift” or check out a website. Or still getting those generic Linked In invites. People just don’t feel they need to take the time to introduce themselves. Would they come up to you at a conference and say “hey connect with me”? No, they wouldn’t. They would introduce themselves properly. So why don’t they feel the need to do it online? They wouldn’t walk up to you and say “you want to learn more about me, check out my website”. No, they would tell you a little about themselves. What the hell happened to common etiquette? A simple “thanks for connecting, tell me about yourself” or “thanks for the add, let’s connect via phone to get to know one another” goes a long way in building a relationship. So why aren’t people doing it? Well I have a couple of theories, but let me stick to three of my favorites.

Celebrities & so called Internet Celebrities have taken over.

Yes, you read me right. Every time something big gets going for the common folks, celebrities come on board. Now I’m not saying they aren’t entitled. But they take social networking to another level.  They set up accounts, gain tons of followers, then sit back and engage only with people they know personally. So they’ll have a couple of thousand (or in some cases millions) of followers and communicate with about 10. Well if you know them already, use the damn phone! A smart celebrity or public figure would tap into the power of social media to ENGAGE their public and build (or strengthen) their brand. As someone who is becoming more in the public eye, I use social networking as a means to engage in conversations, find out what my public wants to talk about, and educate by sharing my knowledge. I pay attention to what people say and want. And most importantly, I do my own communicating. Some of these celebrities hire people to communicate for them. Where’s the authenticity? And do I even need to talk about the Internet Celebrities?

Internet Marketers & “Gurus” told people it’s OK to blast their business services/products because it’s free or cheap and EVERYBODY is on it.

OK maybe it’s unfair to paint Internet Marketers with one broad stroke. But it seems like many of them are reading from the same manual when it comes to social media. There is nothing worse than being bombarded by marketing messages, especially when it’s intrusive.  I like to get to know about people, not their products or services, when I connect. Ease me into it. People buy from people they know and trust. If I just connect with you on Monday, what makes you think I’m going to buy from you on Tuesday? By immediately bombarding me with sales pitches and marketing messages, you’re showing me that I’m a lead, not someone you want to connect with. How do you expect me to take you seriously? So many of these people are so caught up on making a sale, they forget about the SOCIAL aspect of social networking. And besides, don’t you know that after a while, all of those messages all look alike. If you’re going to follow the Internet Marketing “Gurus” at least change up your style! A lot of those websites look exactly the same. Here’s a tip for you. If you even think I’m your “target market” get to know me and what my touch points are. Take the time to interact with me and learn how to work with me. I care more about relationships than I do making purchases.

People just don’t care. They’re joining because everyone else is doing it.

I’ve seen this in the recruiting world a lot. A site will pop up and a few early adopters will try it out. Then someone like clockwork will write a book or post or teach a class that positions them as the “expert” of this site. Then everyone and their momma will go running to the site because it’s the in thing to do. I find Facebook to be the latest victim of this. In the beginning, people avoided Facebook. They dismissed it as being something kids used. But somewhere along the line, business crossed over into the personal and we got what we have today. It’s talked about on television shows, mentioned in magazine articles, it’s even part of every day life in movies. So now everyone is on it. Some people don’t even know why they are on. Whatever the reason, people are using it to avoid having to network in real life or because everyone else is doing it. In my opinion, this cheapens the experience and goes against the intentions of networking.

Networking, especially online networking, is about relationship building. It’s not about selling or popularity contests or number padding. It’s about finding people who add value to your life in some way. It’s not supposed to be about egotistical, selfish motives. It’s supposed to be about engagement. If you’re not communicating or opening yourself up to connecting with people, then why are you wasting time and bandwidth? It’s not supposed to be about You. Networking is a team sport. If you’re not ready to embrace that, perhaps it’s not for you. So I’m calling out the fakes. Don’t waste people’s time. We don’t care about your self serving purposes. It’s all about making real connections.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

23291063Social networking shouldn’t be your sole source of networking. You must use it as PART of a bigger strategy. Didn’t know that? Maybe you should register for my BOOT CAMP. Your Networking strategy should include SMART social networking, self branding (keeping a consistent message across all social media and traditional networking avenues), making connections (phone AND face to face) and FOLLOW THROUGH. You have to follow through. Otherwise how will people remember you?

Remember, social networking sites are just TOOLS. They are technological means to facilitate the connections quicker. Don’t rely on them as a crutch in building your network. You still have to put in time to cultivate and build relationships- and that requires a personalized touch. Not sure how? Ask for help, attend the BOOT CAMP or get a networking coach! http://www.empowermeseminars.com Or, you can simply buy the book.

Any questions?

Go forth and build your power circle of influence.

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

22781140You’re probably doing it wrong.

If networking just doesn’t seem to work for you or benefit you, you have to step back and ask yourself a few questions:

  • If you’ve joined groups or networks, do you participate?
  • Have you initiated contact with members?
  • Do you share your expertise & knowledge?
  • Do you attend any events hosted by the groups or networks?
  • Do you reach out to people before you actually need something just to say hello or keep a connection going?

If the answer is “no” then yes, you’re doing it wrong. Networks only work to your benefit when you put in time and effort to make them work. Don’t sit on your butt waiting for results to fall at your feet. You’ve got to give to get. I’ve seen many people approach networking, especially online/social networking in a “build it and they will come” manner. That doesn’t work, and in fact it only leads to failure.

Networking is about relationship building and trust. People like to help or do business with people they know. I’m more inclined to refer someone if I know about them and have communicated. I will not go out of my way for a complete stranger. Posting articles in a forum is not the same as getting to know people or rather showing people who you are. There has to be dialog. I can read all the article in Fortune Magazine, and think they are wonderfully written and thought provoking. It doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and do business with writers.

Once you decide to network, you have to follow it through. Make yourself available and approachable. Position yourself so people want to seek you out. By the same token, reach out to people as individuals. Establish that rapport and continue cultivating it.  Share your knowledge, but openly seek the knowledge of others too.  It has to be a two way dialog in order for it to work and be successful.

So how will you network today?

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

AdriennesmallGo Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking

Let’s face it, this economy is on shaky ground. As witnessed by the collapse of some of Wall Street’s powerhouse companies like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, we never know when our cushy job is in jeopardy. If your company collapsed tomorrow, what would you do? Do you have a contingency plan like starting a business? Do you have a solid network of key decision makers who could help you in landing your next opportunity? Chances are if you haven’t taken the time to build a strong network, you don’t have many allies who can help you in a pinch. Go Ahead Talk, to Strangers, based on the book written by Adrienne Graham, gives you the foundations of becoming a fearless networker. In this session, some of what you will learn includes:

  • Branding yourself
  • Build, communicate with and tap into your network
  • Networking with top executives and key decision makers
  • Making a memorable impression on the people you meet
  • Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and an asset
  • Being a fearless networker
  • Navigating and tapping into traditional and social networking
  • Using networking to advance your career or build your business

Don’t miss this dynamic session that prepares you to become a powerful and empowered networker. Your real networking experience begins at this seminar. Adrienne Graham gives attendees a look into her own networking journey, shares her experiences and best advice on building your own network from a position of confidence and strength, and gets the audience involved in interactive networking exercises.

Each registered attendee will receive a FREE copy of the book Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking, Companion Workbook AND a Networking Journal.

Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Drawing will be conducted for a $25 American Express Gift Check, and 1 free networking strategy session with Adrienne Graham.

Date: Saturday, June 6, 2009

Time: 9AM- 12Noon EST

OR

Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time: 6PM – 9PM EST

Location: Webcast (internet & phone access required)

Cost: $89

Register today: http://www.goaheadtalktostrangers.com

full_cover_smallYou know what? It IS all about “who you know”. Let’s face it, this economy is on shaky ground. As witnessed by the collapse of some of Wall Street’s powerhouse companies we never know when our job is in jeopardy. If your company collapsed tomorrow, what would you do? Do you have a solid network of key decision makers who could help you land your next job? Do you have a contingency plan like starting a business? Chances are if you haven’t taken the time to build a strong network, you don’t have many allies who can help you in a pinch.

Fearless Networking, based on the book written by Adrienne Graham, gives you the foundations of becoming a fearless networker. In this session, you will learn:

* Branding yourself
* Build, communicate with and tap into your network
* Networking with top executives and key decision makers
* Making a memorable impression on the people you meet
* Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and an asset
* Being a fearless networker
* Navigating and tapping into traditional and social networking
* Using networking to advance your career or build your business
* Building a proper Inner Circle (aligning yourself with power brokers)
* Networking ‘Seasons’
* Networking strategies

Don’t miss this dynamic session that prepares you to become a powerful and empowered networker. Your real networking experience begins at this seminar. Adrienne Graham gives attendees a look into her own networking journey, shares her experiences and best advice on building your own network from a position of confidence and strength, and gets the audience involved in interactive networking exercises.

Date: April 4, 2009
Time: 11 AM- 2 PM EST
Location: Online Webcast- must have internet and phone access
Cost: $69 (refer 2 friends who register & get $10 off your registration! Limit 2 referrals per person.)

Space is limited and advanced registration is required. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=4000183

Drawing will be conducted for a $25 American Express Gift Check, a copy of the book Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers, and 1 free networking coaching session with Adrienne Graham.

ladieswithcomputersOK. I wouldn’t be a responsible recruiter, blogger, writer and networker if I didn’t tell you the truth. I have been and continue to be a huge advocate of social networking and using sites like Linked In to build your professional brand and network. But I think it’s getting a wee bit out of hand now. Let me explain.

Yes, the primary purpose of those sites is to get to know people and make lasting connections. However, I have read one too many articles and heard far too many “experts” tell people to get on and use it to find a job. “Don’t be afraid to seek out people in companies you want to work in and let them know you’re looking for a job or ask for an introduction to a hiring manager within the company”. Ordinarily I would agree with that, but with a caveat. Anyone who has read anything I’ve written knows that I tell people build relationships and get to know people. Yes, you should be bold and reach out to people you don’t know. But there is an etiquette to it. Make an effort to get to know the person and build some sort of relationship with them. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten an email asking to introduce someone to one of my contacts. I don’t have a problem making connections, but if I have never communicated with you or hadn’t heard from you since we initially connected, do not ask me to refer you. See, it’s a credibility issue with me. My name and reputation mean everything to me. Anyone I recommend is someone I know in some capacity. If I don’t know you from Eve, how can I introduce you to someone not knowing what you bring to the table?

Think about it. Would you refer someone you don’t know? If things went wrong, that could damage not only your reputation, but also your relationship. One time I passed along an introduction figuring I would help this person out because they needed a job. I didn’t know her, but she sent an email introducing herself to let me know she was on the market. I made the introduction and forgot to tell my contact I did not know her personally. The person went on to badger my contact. She called her repeatedly and sent email after email asking for an interview. My contact said she told her she didn’t have anything at the time but to watch the website. She also told her she’d be in touch if something came up. The woman would call her every time she saw a new opening on the company website. I was so embarrassed and had to work overtime to mend my damaged relationship. Well, I generally applaud initiative. But stalking is another issue altogether and I cannot condone that.

I think writers have been very irresponsible to tell readers to go ahead and reach out to people without giving them the proper etiquette lesson that goes along with that advice. I truly hope that you all do go out and network, you’re supposed to, otherwise how would you build your network. But please be responsible about it. Don’t go in there reaching out to folks you never met asking for introductions or worse, making your initial contact about getting a job. I am not heartless. But I am a realist. Get to know the people you reach out to. Ask to speak with them via phone and chat a little about yourself. Don’t go into interview mode or ask to send your resume. What you can do is talk about your expertise, and casually mention that you may be interested in hearing about the right opportunities. As them if they mind if you keep in touch with them periodically. Remain in touch by sending relevant articles, events and books. A follow up email every now and then is welcomed by most people. Sending an email every week, well, is stalking.

So “Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers”, but do it responsibly. Be courteous and respectful. If you manage your network with class, common sense and respect I promise that you will benefit from leads because you took the time to nurture the relationships. Remember, it’s give and take.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

The hottest trend on the internet and in business today is Social Networking.  At the forefront are powerhouse sites like Linked In and Facebook.  Anybody who spends anytime online knows about (or should know) the power of Social Networks. Many have heard about Linked In, created a Linked In network, and even toyed around with the Groups and Answers features.  But most people don’t know how to effectively use Linked In to grow their careers or business effectively.

Many people join the site, and send and receive invitations to connect.  Some follow the unspoken rules of the site, some don’t and make spamming a pass time.  While some people have managed to just barely navigate Linked In and create great networks, few people know how to effectively use the Social Networks they have created. While there are many social networking sites, for the purpose of this blog entry I will focus on Linked In.

There is a lot of information on Linked In and other places on the internet describing the features of the site.  You can find stories about the site owners and how they’ve raised money for the site.  You can find self professed gurus telling how their expertise can help them turn a Linked In network into a sales pipeline or using it for successful job hunting.  But you rarely learn about the work and effort you need to put into it to make it work for you.  Signing up for an account is the first step.  Putting up a profile is the next important step.  But if you leave it there, you are doing yourself a disservice and only adding to Linked In’s numbers, not it’s success stories.

To be effective in any type of networking, you need to put in the effort.  I set aside time each quarter to connect with all of my 700+ connections to let them know what’s going on in my world and how I can help them with any issues they are dealing with.  I am on Linked In daily because I run two groups on there and  get approval requests daily, not to mention inmail and invitations I need to weed through.  Every weekend, I am on Linked In looking for potential people to connect to.  I craft personalized introduction letters and request connection.  I also take time to answer questions when I can.  Sometimes I’ll answer publicly, sometimes privately.  But I try to take advantage of opportunities that will allow me to showcase my expertise (not solicit business or recruit, but show my expertise).  I send notes to my connections who have posted recent promotions, successes and good news.  They are almost always surprised by that action.  It shows I’m paying attention.

Another thing I try to do is humanize my networks.  To me, it’s not enough to just join a group or add a connections.  If I am connecting with someone it has to have meaning.  I’ll call when I can, and in some cases plan to meet face to face.  This coming Friday, I am having lunch with some of my connections and I am very excited.  What is the sense of “knowing someone” without getting to know them?  I’m not in some contest to see who can have the most connections.  I connect with whom I want to connect.  Somehow it all works itself out.  Remember that video I posted a little while back by IBM, where the guy is explaining he has 600+ friends on his network, and his boss tells him to find 10 potential high level employees?  And he responds that he doesn’t know anyone like that?  Well that’s an example of poor networking form.  I can guarantee that any type of position someone has I can find a contact who knows someone who is an ideal fit.  That is a wonderful advantage to have.  Because I keep in touch with my network, it is easier for them to remember who I am and makes them more willing to help me.  I’m not bothering people with forward requests.  I’m not referring people I don’t know.  I respect my network and am growing it organically. That is what makes me a successful networker.

There’s more to social networking but this blog isn’t long enough to hold it all.  I teach courses on social networking that breaks it down to the bare essence. If you’re interested, come check one out.  They’re not expensive.

So before you Link In, consider why you are linking in and what purpose it’ll serve.  Consider what amount of time you plan to put into it and what your expectations are.  Don’t connect for the sake of connecting or numbers.  Cultivate your network like you would your garden.  I guarantee the more attention and love you give it, the better your return.  If you don’t know how to do it, learn.  It’ll do wonders for your career and/or business

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Social networking is a topic that is on fire these days.  You have Myspace, Linked In, Facebook, Viadeo, Xing, Twitter, and a host of other social networking sites on the web.  The one thing I find is people rush to sign up for these sites then never do anything with them.  People who are traditionally old school and don’t put social networking high on their list are doing themselves a great disservice.

Now, true that old fashioned networking methods will remain forever and not everyone has the time or is cut out for social networking, but it can add a boost to your brand and credibility.  This is 2008, not 1988.  We are a flat world and technology and communications allow us to virtually reach out and touch anyone anywhere.  It only makes sense that we look at social networking in the same way.   I teach sessions on using social networking and I am always pleased to see how amazed some people are by the time they finish the session.  They get to see social networking from the inside out and get a better understanding of how to incorporate it into their branding and development plans.  I do have a slight advantage as a recruiter, but I don’t use social networking merely for the purposes of recruiting.  I build genuine relationships and I keep up with my connections.  That in and of itself has gotten me clients, speaking opportunities and publicity (all unsolicited).

One of the main questions I get asked is what site should a person join.  It is purely subjective.  You have to determine what your end goal is and the type of people you are trying to reach.  Go into each site with an agenda in mind.  If you don’t have a plan, you’ll just be wandering aimlessly.  The next popular questions I get asked are what should I put on my profile and how can I learn how to use *insert site name here*.  Again, it takes time and patience and a little bit of exploration.  Most people come to me because they want an overview from a real person who has experience with the site(s).  I also let them know that they need to be careful about completing their profile.  It shouldn’t read like a resume or CV.  It should give just enough information to give people an idea of your professional self.

Business owners also are slowly turning to social networking.  But for them the rules are slightly different. All of the basics for the career person apply, but they need to incorporate other aspects to get their brand out into the world.  Something as simple as adding video can give potential clients something tangible to work with.  You not only want to showcase your expertise, but SHOW them what you can and have done.  But don’t go overboard with it.  You should not go into social networking thinking it is the magic key to fill up your client load.  Relationship building should be your foundation, always.

Social networking used to be about instant messaging, participating on message boards and sending email.  But it has evolved into viral message, branding and networking through the use of video (You Tube), blogs, message forums, social networking sites, etc.  But remember, these are the TOOLS, a means to get your message out.  It is ultimately up to you to take it to the next level and connect and build relationships with the people you meet.  It takes work just like traditional networking.  It just allows you to move faster and reach more people.

If you have any questions about social networking or are looking for instruction, please feel free to reach out.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Do you really know how to use your social network? If you have hundreds of contacts but don’t use them for networking, then why do you have them? I always said it seems like a waste to just be “connected” to so many people and not cultivate relationship. I am very particular about who I allow in my network. Other than the obvious (having commonalities), the person and I should be able to effectively network for mutual benefit. I don’t just add people for the sake of adding and I don’t accept every invitation.

Before you set off to build this vast network, stop and think about what you want out of it. Be selective about who you link to and why. Don’t just accept any invitation. Find out about the person first and also tell them a little about yourself as well. Relationship building is the true power of Social Networking. As IBM says, stop talking, start doing!

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

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