Social media is used by recruiters to look for "hidden" candidates and to disqualify inappropriate ones. It is used by sales reps to look for new prospects and connect better with existing ones. And it can be used by you to connect outward to those you know, and to develop your reputation with those you don't. For all these reasons and more, we spend increasing amounts of time on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, often without a clear return on our time investment, and sometimes doing more harm than good. Even if you think you are an "expert", consider these basic guidelines:
- Don't be presumptive and assume that everyone will want to be your connection or friend. If there is any question in your mind that someone may refuse, then call them up and ask first. After all, a key goal of social networking is to facilitate real networking.
- Don't automatically assume that everyone wants to give you a written recommendation. Some people feel uncomfortable giving blanket public recommendations, while others may not want to give you one at all. Best ask in a way that doesn't put the other person into an embarassing position.
- Don't accept connections with people who you don't have a real-world relationship with. If you do accept these unknowns, then they will pester you for introductions to your colleagues - or call them up directly and use your name. Yikes.
- Don't be inconsistent with your image across the various social media sites. It raises a red flag. And at the same time, make sure that there are no embarassing - or out-of-brand - images of you posted on these sites. These raise a redder flag.
- To prevent identity theft and to ensure that you are being represented properly, make sure that you claim your profile on the three key profile aggregator sites. (www.Zoominfo.com is one of them).
- Do remember that everything that you ever wrote, if it was posted online, then it is findable online - even if was deleted. The Wayback Machine and Google have seen to it.
- Do check your profile regularly on each of LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, MySpace, or wherever you have a presence, to ensure that nothing inappropriate about you was posted by your connections.
This week's action item: Despite the risks, Online PR and Social Media represent a tremendous opportunity to significantly extend your personal profile. The only question is whether you use the tool strategically or not. This week, at a minimum, go through each site that you are registered on, and make sure that each is up-to-date, and consistent. (For more information on Social Media strategy, see http://www.OnlinePRSocialMedia.com)
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Planning, Work-Life Balance, and Networking; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or by email at email@example.com.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2009 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: Jan 27, 2009