If you read a bit of my last two post I spoke briefly about how I have used social media sites to setup a social professional network. Yes a professional network. With all of us being surrounded by the growing social media world, it’s much easier to connect with people who I share the same interest with, career goals and skill set. If you don’t about this already you might be asking yourself, how can I do this? We’ll it’s a lot easier than you think, but it does take some effort on your part to build it and keep it going.
Now the network you build can be for anything. Your business, your art, interest & career based. The network that I am building. I say building because your network will never be ‘built’ because there people that you will find that you share common interest with and who they are or something they do, you’ll want that connection even more so because for every person you connect with, you gain their network. To create your network you’ll be utilizing the help of social media as well as face-to-face contact which I touch more on later. Many of us already have a Facebook account where we talk to and ‘stalk’ our closest friends, high school pals and an occasional ex. We’ll did you know that you could create a ‘Like’ page that can showcase your business and/or talent? If you didn’t that’s okay because you can create a completely separate page where everyone can see the art, crafts, business that you can provide them. This page is just like any other page that you’ve seen and liked. You don’t have to create a separate email to maintain it either. Page notifications will show up on the left hand side of the screen. You know, where all the request for games and stuff show up (below your favorites and apps). Here is an example of mine: CLICK HERE Since I have what is called a “Professional Network” I link people to this Facebook page only. I have the average FB page just like anyone else does, but I rather not share my private life with people if I can help it. I don’t care if they access my page, I have nothing to hide. I don’t post pictures of myself doing stupid shit because it can influence employers not to hire you. Believe it or not, it does happen. The reason FB is a really good networking tool is because of the amount of users that are on it at a given time and the fact that most people in this world have one. Just ask yourself how many times a day do you check your Facebook and read your timeline…??? (A lot isn’t it?)
Do you tweet? You should. Now don’t think that twitter is full of people tweeting all the time about what they just ate, how they ate it and now they have to pee. We’ll there are those people but for the most part it is an extremely powerful networking tool. If you don’t have one it’s pretty easy to set one up and you don’t have to stay glued to it all the time. Depending on how you want to use it, think of it as a open-source text message that millions of people can read at anytime. I say that because if you haven’t heard news reports lately you need to be careful of what you tweet. Try to stay positive. On twitter find people that you can relate to and who you can benefit from either it be business or career wise. If you are using it because you are a crafty person or have a hobby that you love the same rules apply. Now when you start engaging with your followers or you add new ones, it’s always nice to send a quick direct message thanking them for the follow and it’s here where you can add a link to your website, portfolio, music, etc. And because you took that extra few seconds to set that up it’s highly likely that they’ll click that link. Twitter is also extremely helpful if your in a bind with a project your working on or if you need some serious feedback on a question or anything else of that nature. Reason is because you’ll get faster responses from people rather than waiting for that email from a boss, customer, friend, professor. I’m actually speaking from experience here when I say this. This past semester I was stuck numerous times while working on Scripting assignments and being that it was really late when I was working on them, I knew that I wasn’t going to get a response from my Professor about what I was doing wrong and adding to the fact that week prior I emailed him asking for advice and it took over a week to get a response from him (The class size was only 12). When that happened I new I could jump right to my network in search of help. Sure enough with in 20 minutes I was back on track! Just as people can help you, you can help them and I think it’s really important to do so or at least return the favor to those who have helped you out. If you haven’t already done this, give it a try and let me know how it goes.
It was in my final year at Regent when I created my LinkedIn account. I was graduating and needed to put myself out there so employers would notice me, plus I read how LinkedIn was becoming a serious networking tool for everyone. The best way for me to describe it is that it’s a expanded version of your resume. When you create an account it will feel like you’re writing your resume up. You’ll input a heading, a summary which is just like that objective box that you used to do on your resume after high school, present and past places of employment and your education. But whats good about LinkedIn is that it allows you to expand those sections. You can add projects to both your education and employment sections. This then allows potential employers to see your past work with out having to fish for through your portfolio or demo reel. That recommendation later becomes obsolete in a sense because present and past coworkers and clients can post on your behalf about how awesome you were on this project or that one. There is a new feature that is growing on LinkedIn and it’s called ‘endorsements’. This is where you or anyone in your network can endorse you on a particular skill or skills that you have. The more endorsements you have the better because again it shows people that you really have the talent that you have described on your profile.
The best part about LinkedIn is that you can connect with people. You’re saying, “Well I can do that with Facebook, why does that matter?” True but not like this. See LinkedIn has an amazing network of people who work for the companies you’ve dreamed of working for, people who working businesses just like you do or have similar skills in which you can pick their brain about. Facebook has that ability but Facebook is not the same. It’s more personal than professional. For instance this past fall I had a calls at AAU on Editing with Avid and I had an assignment in which I needed to create an Editor’s Report. This is where you breakdown the shots and cuts in a particular scene of a show or film. I decided to write about the first episode of “The Walking Dead.” We’ll I had this really good report going but I felt that it needed something more so I did my homework and found, Hunter Via, editor of that episode. More research led me to find out that he won an award for his editing on that episode. So I ventured over to LinkedIn and did a search and found is profile but was afraid to reach out to him. This is the editor of a hit show, he wont have time to talk to me. But I sucked it up, sent him an invite to connect to my network along with a message that told him how much of a fan I was and congrats on the particular award and why I was writing him. I figured what’s the worst that can happen, he doesn’t respond, oh well. I already had a great report I just wanted to amend it by adding his input about his creative process. I’m glad I did because that same night he responded saying that he would be honored to talk to me for my report and then gave me his cell phone number with instructions to call the following morning. HOW AWESOME IS THAT! I thought about why he responded and I believe it had a lot to do with the fact that I took the extra time to write more of a personal message rather than leaving the default message that is sent when you request someone to join your network. I’ve read recently to that it’s something that a lot of people don’t think about and is why, in some cases, you don’t get a response when you send out request.
Building a network is easy in a sense because many of us already do what we need to do to build one. We sign up on a site so that we can connect to others, share stories, post things, share our lives. The only thing different is that a we have to think professional and adjust what we do. Instead of posting drunk pictures or pics of our cats, we post images of products we are selling or our art, we share what we’re working on or post about new techniques, and our connections become less random and more focused.