6. Get out from behind your device or screen
Don’t let social networking take over your life. Stay productive. Some people become so involved in their online presence that they forget how to connect with people in person and often let their other real-life relationships and responsibilities slide. Once you have profiles created, and an initial presence established, try to spend no more than about one hour a day total on your social networking activities.
If you’re not careful when you go to a social networking site, you can become easily distracted. And, if focusing your social networking time sounds like it might be difficult for you then you probably need to take a closer look at how you’re spending ALL of your time.
7. Don’t be afraid to go “old school” occasionally
Remember that phone calls and in-person visits are still an important part of doing business. It recently took four Twitter direct messages with a contact to determine where and when to meet for coffee. If she had just called me, the decision would have been made in only a few seconds.
8. Think before you post
I believe most of us all know this by now, but it’s worth repeating; think before you post. Things you put online can and often will come back to haunt you. Any pictures you share, comments you post or updates you write are public. Even if your account has privacy settings activated, your information is never completely secure. It’s best to assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to a computer. When in doubt, don’t.
9. Keep the snark to a minimum
Stop being snarky, even if you think the person can take it. The other people reading your updates or posts might draw some conclusions about you that you’d rather they didn’t. I’ve heard of people not getting job referrals because of someone’s impression of them via a few snarky comments they made on the posts of a mutual contact. Besides, if you are questioning whether your post is appropriate or might irritate someone, ask yourself, would you like it if your prospective clients or employers saw something similar written by one of your so-called friends? If the answer is "no," then do not post it.
10. Quality over quantity always applies
Stop obsessing about quantity over quality when it comes to friends, followers, connections, etc. Be selective about who you accept as a friend on any social network. Did you know that identity thieves have been known to create fake profiles in order to get information from you? Get in the habit of checking new people out via Social Mention, Google or Twitter searches, or even via huge databases like LinkedIn to see if an unknown person appears legit or not. When it doubt, don’t accept.
My advice is to focus the majority of your time on further developing the connections to the people you already know and let them help you grow your social networks by sharing your engaging content and insights with the people they know. That way, you’ll at least have a 1 or 2-degree-away connection to the new people joining your social networking communities, and referrals are always a great way to grow almost anything.
Sandy Jones-Kaminski is a self-described networking enthusiast and the author of "I’m at a Networking Event--Now What???" She’s been an executive in the HR industry and was recently the VP of Networking for one of the largest chapters of a national professional development and trade association. Sandy shares her professional insights on personal branding and effective networking via webinars, one-on-one coaching, workshops and by facilitating in-person networking events called Pay It Forward Parties. You can connect with her via her website at http://www.belladomain.com or via firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.613.8508.
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(photo credit: flickr/hellojenuine )