Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
Think of your social-networking profile as an online version of the professional networking you might do offline, like attending a conference or a reception. You can connect with peers or potential business contacts, while having the advantage of being able to see their connections — which are not always visible in, say, real life or through exchanging business cards.
An individual profile also can be easier to unplug if early exploration proves unfruitful. You can always delete or make your personal account inactive, whereas it can sometimes be harder to delete a failed group.
3. Establish a routine.
If you don’t organize your time well, establish a disciplined work routine or have some specific goals in mind when you visit a social-networking site (and particularly if you are managing more than one), you’ll waste time moving from one site to another. Sus Nyrop, an e-learning consultant based in Denmark, recommends knowing when to log out of the site, and keeping your recreational “pokes” (instant messages to friends) to a minimum.
Also, work on your own time. “Don’t feel like you need to keep your profile updated every minute or have to add people to your list of friends the moment they ask,” says Chris Heuer, a social-media consultant and president and co-founder of the Social Media Club, an online community dedicated to exploring and establishing best practices in the social-media arena. “Unless your job responsibility is online community manager, you don’t need to spend your entire work day on MySpace.”
Most nonprofit online networkers agree on setting a regular schedule for updating content, ‘friending’ people or finding new contacts with similar interests. Those who work on multiple networking sites should plan a maintenance schedule.
“One good practice is to set aside a regular housekeeping date to clear out clutter from your profile,” says Nick Booth, a consultant and podcaster based in the United Kingdom, adding that, for him, “Wednesday is MySpace day.”