WANT PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOU…THEN PAY ATTENTION TO THEM (learn to network better)

January 21, 2013

BE ENGAGED AND BE ENGAGING

A few months ago a senior Finance Executive in my network reminded those avid one track networkers who are knee deep in Social Media (LinkedIn and Twitter…) that “If you want to be interesting, be interested. Give before you get.”

It struck me how accurate a statement this really was. I didn’t think he would mind if I borrowed the comment in the hope of encouraging others to give some thought about how each of us actually conduct ourselves on social media. Just maybe, some of us need to tweak (not tweet) our performance and get way more involved (in the right way that is) – and I think we would get way better results.

A book I have been reading recently described Social Media as a Cocktail Party (The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Scott). And well, if you think about it, it really is – but without a fine Merlot in hand. What people tend to do (Scott says) is thrust business cards in each other’s faces saying ‘buy my product’ to tons of people they don’t really know. Pretty crass and not overly smart. Social Media/Business Networking is built on the premise of being part of a COMMUNITY. It’s a forum to provide valuable and interesting information to others with absolutely no expectation of anything in return.

The real essence of Social Networking and why it really works is more about listening and reading  and remarking about what others have to say and taking the time to engage in healthy comment or debate. Believe me there’s nothing worse than writing something one considers meaningful or passing along an article or piece of information to one’s network and no-one bothers to say anything. Unless this peculiar thing happens….

Just last week, I came across a situation on LinkedIn where someone’s call to action asked people just to like him if they saw his post.  It translated to over 900 comments and 1600+ likes. Interesting since he had no content in his profile and only had 400 contacts. Something wierd with that scenario.

I personally spend two to three hours a day on LinkedIn for example. I think one does need to be ‘interested’ to be ‘interesting’  and visa versa to get attention from others. But it does take some effort. Take a moment, step back and really look at what others are posting, are blogging about and commenting on – if you are in groups and are on LinkedIn (for example) to get noticed, rub shoulders with your peers you got to do the right things. As a Supply Chain Recruiter for example it’s critical for people to know I am a very specialised talent expert. To find out about career opportunities etc this is an IMPERATIVE – YOU have to jump in and get involved even if the best you can do is to like what others have to say for now and work on making comments and posting later.

By making suggestions to help those within your network you seed the field –  it will come back to you in spades. There is a lot of great stuff on places like LinkedIn, Twitter, Face Book for each one of us that is interesting and useful and guess what, best of all, it’s free.

Listen, read, comment and engage – DO IT EVERY DAY. Your connections will really appreciate it and they will surprise you with the connections they can bring to you. That is tremendous goodwill you can’t buy anywhere.

As often as I can, I take the time to read what everyone is doing in my network daily. I try to comment, offer my support and I have seen it pay off. There are way too many people on LinkedIn doing their own thing, that is one their own track – silos — without giving much thought to the real meaning of the social community.

Come on everyone, let’s make that social community work the way it’s meant to.

Over and Out

Bronwen

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