5 reasons why you should be present on several professional social networks

In recent years, professional social networks have become mainstream: Linkedin, Viadeo, Xing, to name only the most famous ones. Having an account in several of them seems to be synonymous with a lot of work. You need to update your profile on each and everyone of them and manage various networks of contacts. Is it worth it ?

I think it is a great opportunity for your career and you should seize it for 5 main reasons.

1. Each network has a special focus
2. Creativity pays in the use of online social networks
3. Online networking should be a task with a time allowed to it
4. Online networking is a mid-term investment
5. Social networks are mostly free

1. Each network has a special focus

Having a live account on several networks enables you to reach various targets. For example, Viadeo is historically well positioned in the French market, while Xing is dominant in Germany. Should you have business or prospective business in these countries, it is interesting for you to be in these networks (they have English versions). By contrast, Linkedin is more anglo-saxon and is well suited for you if you work in the US or with international partners.

2. Creativity pays in the use of online social networks

Since you have access to several networks, why not use them differently ? For instance, you could decide that one of them is dedicated to high value added contacts. In that network, you will accept invitations to connect only from people that you have met in real life. Even better, only invite contacts who you actually worked with. True, you might not be able to show off with hundreds or thousands of contacts. But those you will have in this select network will be people that you know you can count on to transfer your introduction demands, answer questions or write recommendations on your profile. Conversely, on a second networking site, you might decide to get in touch with far more contacts: people whose blog you read, whose online reputation you are aware of, even if you have never met them in real life, executives working with potential clients or possible partners. This network will be much bigger and will grant you access to thousands of contacts of potential interest for your activity. However, the trust effect will not be so powerful and you must not expect the same level of cooperation as in the first network.

3. Online networking should be a task with a time allowed to it

Having a dormant account on a social network is worthless. Does it mean online networking will swallow a huge amount of your time ? In fact, there are seven activities that can help you make the most of social networks, without taking too much time. What I suggest is to spend one hour every week to make your social networks lively.

Here are the main actions you can undertake:

  • Update your profile

A new job ? With a new company ? Update your profile so that people can find you.

  • Update your status

Linkedin makes it possible to describe in one sentence what you are currently working on. In a few words, you can let your contacts know about your projects, assignments or professional interests.

  • Answer questions to show your expertise

Most networks offer a feature that makes it possible for you to ask questions and answer other people’s. You can get solutions to some daily work issues and, by answering questions, you take a stand as a legitimate expert in your field.

  • Write and publish articles in groups

Groups are good places to discuss with other users and discover relevant contacts.

  • Accept invitations to connect

This is obviously the main feature of social networks.

  • Selectively transfer requests

From time to time, people will contact you through people you know, asking to transfer a request: job offers, requests for being introduced to another person, etc. Here, you should play a role of filter, to only transfer to your contacts demands that you think they will be interested in. The more seriously you will play this role of filter, keeping in mind the interest of your contacts, the more they will be willing to do the same and the more you will assert your reputation of an efficient networker.

  • Write recommendations

Recommendations are notes you can write for contacts you know particularly well and that will be displayed on their profile (after their approval). In these notes, you can explain when you had a chance to work with a particular person and what you could appreciate in this cooperation. Recommendations are interesting in that they offer precious contextual information about somebody’s profile, written with an external view. Do not hesitate to write and request some. This will show your interest in your contacts, and there is no doubt they will do the same for you, making your profile richer and more unique.

Regard these 7 tasks as « to-do’s » and self-training. Make no mistake: taking care of your online reputation is now a prerequisite in your professional life. Reviewing profiles on social networks has become part of the daily routine of recruiters. Whether you are open to new job opportunities, working in sales, freelancer or in business relationships with numerous providers and clients, maintaining lively social networks is now a key success factor.

4. Online networking is a mid-term investment

Being active on two or three social networks can definitely benefit your career. You should try to be active in each of them, with no prejudice. You will soon discover the one or two network(s) that really work(s) for you. Then you will be able to concentrate on it/them.

5. Social networks are mostly free

Some networks are nearly 100 % free (like Linkedin) while others provide premium features for a fee. Explore what each site has to offer and decide to pay for what is useful for you where it is useful for you.

If you follow these 5 pieces of advice, you will see that being active in more than one social network is not so time-consuming and can serve your best interests. In practice, two or three networking sites, regularly updated and distinctively used, can leverage your professional efficiency.

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4 Responses to “5 reasons why you should be present on several professional social networks”

  1. Why you need to have more networks? « strategic networking support for new professionals Says:

    […] To read more:  https://cooperatics.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/5-reasons-why-you-should-be-present-on-several-professio… […]

  2. Why you need to have more networks? « Strategic Employment Network Support Everywhere -SENSE Says:

    […] To read more:  https://cooperatics.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/5-reasons-why-you-should-be-present-on-several-professio… […]

  3. An admirer Says:

    Thank you for your reasons – I may become more active on other social networks besides LinkedIn.

  4. Jérôme Delacroix Says:

    Great initiative !

    Social networking’s momentum does not seem to be over. Even the current crisis gives a new boost to social networking sites.

    Check out:

    http://is.gd/1qkj8

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