I can’t stress this enough: LinkedIn is an important tool to manage your social network, but only if . . .
- You care about your online reputation
- You are a business person who wants to be successful
- You want to help others reach their goals
If none of that matters to you, just stick to MySpace or better yet, go to great lengths to make sure you have no online presence whatsoever.
Since you’re here, though, that says to me that you care about your social network — you recognize that you have one, that it benefits your business and you (personally and financially.)
Here’s a brief plan to get you started improving your social network:
- Once a week, schedule time to write a recommendation of someone in your network. LinkedIn has a built-in function for this, but other ways to do this include a blog post, a meaningful #FollowFriday recommendation on Twitter, a post on a business’ Facebook page or offering a testimonial quote to a business to use on their website.
- Once a month or when a project has been completed for a client, ask for a recommendation (see all the recommendation options above.)
- Weekly, pull the business cards you collected at that last networking event from your jacket pockets and your bag and enter those new contacts into your system. Personally, I like to enter contacts into Outlook, my main warehouse of contacts and periodically export those contacts to LinkedIn and Facebook to move my network to the virtual space. LinkedIn and Twitter have kindly integrated so you can easily discover and follow your business contacts who tweet.
- Once a month, find a networking event and go to it. No networking events in your area? (OK, I don’t believe you, but whatever) Start one!
- Twice a month, step out of your comfort zone and invite someone in your network to meet you for lunch, coffee or drinks.
- Every day (I mean it!) engage with your network by responding to questions, sharing content from members of your network (linking to blog posts, re-tweeting, etc.) Be helpful by introducing members of your network to one another.
Stick to a plan for improving your social network and your social network will help you improve your career and your business success.