discs connected with lines symbolizing networking

Network through social media

By Tyler Omoth

While social media is meant to be, well, social, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage when it comes to building your professional network. In fact, social media might be the best way to do your networking virtually. Here’s how you can use some of the most popular social media sites for professional networking.

LinkedIn

Linkedin is the social media site geared towards work. You’ve probably built up a pretty good list of connections on it. Now what?

Look through your connections for people you respect highly, but haven’t talked to in a while. Reach out to them via Linkedin to say hi and ask them how’re they are doing. It’s a simple way to reconnect with people.

Take a look at the Linkedin “People You May Know” feature. Under “Connections”, Linkedin will list out people that have similar roles to yours, people with whom you share a lot of connections, or who simply live and work near you. Look these over and see if there is anyone you know that you haven’t connected with, adding a personal note to your connection request to jumpstart the conversation.

Find and follow companies that you admire; their posts will show up in your feed and you can get a feel for what they are doing and who are some of the main players. Then, if you feel brave, reach out to some of those people to connect.

Create and publish posts of your own. If you have a blog, great. Post some of your content to put your expertise on display. If not, post and share content you admire. It puts you out there so that your name and face show up on other people’s feeds.

Twitter

Twitter is a lot more than just writing a short blurb about whatever crosses your mind; it is a great platform to build a network and display your own expertise.

Tweet about your industry frequently. Whether it’s insights you have about new trends or sharing success stories, be sure to post on a regular basis using relevant hashtags so the right people see them.

Follow hashtags that are important to you and your industry. By following these hashtags, you’ll find out who are the thought leaders out there on the subject, and you can begin to engage.

After you follow someone, comment on their posts or retweet them. This is a natural way to break the ice and create a new connection.

If you really want to deep-dive into Twitter, consider posting a live video or even a poll. Polls are a great way to get people talking and engaged on a topic of your choosing.

Facebook

Facebook can be a little bit trickier for professional networking, with most people preferring to use Facebook as their personal social media. Still, you’ll find that many people also follow their favorite businesses there.

Don’t underestimate personal (rather than professional) connections. Look through your “People You May Know” section and see if there are any friends out there that you don’t have as a FB friend. Add them and say hi. If they aren’t working in your industry, chances are they know someone who does or they know someone who knows someone — you get the drift.

Go live. Find a topic that is timely and fun and post a live video where you show off what you can do or what you know. It’s a great way to engage with other FB users. Just don’t forget to promote the video for a week or two beforehand so people know it’s coming.

Instagram

Photos are a wonderful way to engage an audience, and that’s what Instagram is all about. While you should keep it fun, you can also sneak in some professional networking if you try.

Much like Twitter, you can follow people you admire on Instagram and comment on their photos to start a connection. You can also use and follow hashtags to connect with others who have similar interests.

Always keep comments professional and polite. If you’re looking to establish a professional connection, avoid commenting on factors that don’t have to do with your industry or work aspirations, like physical appearance. While you might think it’s a harmless compliment, it’s better to avoid it altogether.

Content sourced from Talent Inc.