The Conservative Aspect
The Internet is forever – once something is posted on the Internet, even if you are later able to retract or redact it, there is a good chance it has been archived in some storage system somewhere and can be discovered later. “It’s hard to know what career choices you may want to pursue later in life that could be affected by choices you make today,” says Steve, who adds that, in this regard, one should always be wary of what one posts online.
In this age, all it takes is one click – once you click ‘send’, you lose control. Even if you implicitly trust someone, sharing something through social media that you would like to remain private, is risky. They could inadvertently leave their computer on or they could accidentally send it to someone else. Therefore, only click ‘send’ when you are willing to let the world know about it.
According to Steve, it takes years to build a solid reputation, but only one second to destroy it. Your reputation is your most precious asset, and, if you are not treating it as something beyond value, then you cannot expect others to do so. A good online reputation increases your chance of scoring marks offline with the same contacts, as they have a bias towards you. Regardless of who you really are, warns Steve, your reputation is who the world thinks you are!
Social media, as easy-going as the term may sound, requires common-sense actions that we take on a daily basis. As a result, Steve advises, when in doubt, wait! “If there is the slightest twinge of doubt about whether or not you should click ‘send’, wait 24 hours and re-evaluate. Do the same if there is a scintilla of anger in your message, remembering that, ‘what goes around, comes around’,” Steve points out.
The Progressive Aspect
Consistency is the most important aspect of building trust and building a stable reputation; therefore, be consistent regarding your values. Your words must be consistent with your actions, because your actions are what other people see – ‘seeing still is believing’. If your actions and words are consistent with your values, you never have to try to remember if what you did sometime in the past was the right thing to do. If you are clear about your values, your actions will always be right.
The second issue relating to the progressive aspect is being yourself. Have the courage to be yourself, to be authentic, to be ‘real’ – even in your virtual interactions. Steve points out: “When a relationship evolves from hash tag to handshake and beyond, if you have been yourself, you never have to explain discrepancies.” He adds that, when you are being yourself, you can constantly be moving forward, without feeling that you have to go back and clean up little messes.
Ultimately, in Steve’s view, in order to be progressive, one has to be distinctive. This means letting those special qualities that apply only to you, set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Even when you are fitting in, you must allow yourself to stand out and be noticed. This applies particularly if you want to get that job interview with the company you admire or want to land the opportunity to show what you can do to help someone else succeed.
Having combined the conservative and progressive aspects of using social media, let me share with you some practical ways in which you can turn social-media contacts into offline business relationships.
#Be Clear about Your Goals
Being clear about your goals, about the kinds of people who can help you and about what you want to learn helps narrow down the list of people in your network with whom you would like to connect. Do this by capturing what you’re currently working on – your current goals – and the people you think can help you move your goals forward, as well as what you’re currently looking to learn. You may or may not actually have a name for your direction, but a title will do – think of creating a networking persona.
#Gather Your Contacts
Next, you have to set up a system that’s going to help you learn as much as you can about your soon-to-be-offline contacts. Mike Bruny, a social-media expert, suggests using a tool like Engagio to help pull together your Twitter, e-mail, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts and keep track of their social-media activity in one location. You want to know when your contacts get that promotion or when they express frustration with their new tax guy!
After doing the recon and getting a sense of what is going on with your target contacts, the next step is to go from text to video communication. Video moves you from being another tweet or Facebook message to an actual person. Nothing beats being able to look someone in the eye and see their expression or reaction to something you just said. You just can’t get that with Twitter or Facebook. You can use a tool like Skype or a Google+ Hangout to make the visual connection.
You’re a busy professional, and one of the biggest challenges in keeping a network alive is to remember to reach out. There are several tools you can use to help you set up reminders. An app such as Ming.ly lets you choose the frequency of your interactions with your contact and sends you a message if you haven’t reached out within the selected time frame. The idea here is to put yourself in a ‘set it and forget it’ mode, while still staying ‘top of mind’ before actually meeting in person.
Letting people know that you are looking forward to meeting them in person is a sure way of making that a reality sooner. For instance, you can leverage Twitter to send a direct message expressing your excitement about talking to the person on Skype and how you can’t wait to meet them in person! You can also start following a person on different social-media platforms if he or she is really someone with whom you’d like to connect in person.
Perhaps the most important activity in this exercise would be to connect people. Dr Ivan Misner, founder of Business Networking International (BNI) aptly puts it thus: “Your network should be wide and deep.” Everyone wants to be known as a giver, as someone who will help others solve problems by introducing them to people with the expertise they’re looking for.
Groups in different social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn serve as an excellent place to ask questions. Once you validate connections, ask them if they mind if you introduce them to someone who could use their expertise. You may not have both parties’ e-mail addresses, but, if you’re all on Facebook, a private message to both is a great way to go.
Social media is here to stay and hash tags appear to be the way into the immediate future. With recent media reports stating that analysts regard Facebook as the playground of serious businesses and people, nurturing those online contacts is not such a bad idea, but is, in every way, in your best interests. Connect and see that hash tag turning into a handshake!
Additional Source: www.socialmediaexaminer.com
Turning Hash Tags into Handshakes
From virtual to actual; from a distance to up close and personal; from images on a screen to eye contact! You can employ social media in your effort to reach the people you can help, or vice versa. The virtual connections of social media can serve as introductory phases for more meaningful and relevant relationships. But, how do you turn those online contacts into building powerful business networks in order to collaborate and change the world?
Steve Rigell, President of Preemptis, Inc., an international consulting firm, says that there are two aspects to the dynamic of employing social media. “Social media is like politics. To be successful in your social-media efforts, you have to be simultaneously conservative and progressive,” reveals Steve.
by Andrew Ngozo