We all use social media sites to keep in touch with our friends and family, but we often forget how important, yet easy, social networking is. In today’s society, social networking is a crucial part of our journey to professionally develop ourselves.
Why Social Networking is Important
With advancements in technology and ever-growing, hyper-specialized educational opportunities, today’s job market is increasingly more competitive than ever for young professionals looking to enter into or advance within the workforce. By making social networking a priority in your daily life, you give yourself greater and greater opportunities to establish mutually beneficial connections. It also allows you to develop relationships with people that actively help make a positive difference in the community at large.
Some people may think “I have a great job, so, I don’t need to establish a network for myself.” Although it is marvelous to hear you have a solid, stable job, you are far more likely to advance in your career when you have the support and guidance of others. Having a network not only gives you the opportunity to brainstorm, share, and gain new ideas, but it also gives you the opportunity to give back to those who are looking for leadership skills, mentorship, and/or professional development ideas.
The marketplace wasn’t built by one person with one idea alone; it has been built by thousands and millions of people and ideas coming together to build a robust business community. Establishing a social network with like-minded people allows you to learn from others, give back to others and build the self confidence you need to advance in your career and life as a whole. Once you make these connections, however, it’s important to then make a plan to keep up with your network on a regular basis, but how?
How to Enhance Your Network Online
Whether we want to admit it or not, we spend hours each day on our phones–five hours a day to be precise, says Sarah Perez of TechCrunch–and computers, socializing on profiles, pages, apps and sites. Social networking on social media is all about greater establishing connections with people who have the same interests and aspirations as you.
Furthermore, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, and others like it are all platforms that allow us to socialize and follow people that we may not know who have the same interests and ideas we do.
In fact, according to Saint John Walker, author of the International Journal of Advertising’s “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think,” social networking sites have pinned down the way we interact with others on social networking sites. They can fairly predict who should be in your network based on your job, hobbies, interests, and location. How many times have you run into someone that you thought you knew but realized you never actually met them in person? This happens because the more active we are on the internet and social platforms, the more accurate these platforms are able to find people with which we may have commonalities or groups of which we would probably love to be a part.
Although this can be a scary thought, how much these platforms know us, they allow us to establish connections with people much easier than we may on our own. The hardest part of using social media for social networking is actually keeping that network active without the profile or page convincing you to enlist in endless scrolling without purpose, keeping you from actually connecting with others.
Take Facebook for Example…
If you’re on the profile, think about all the Facebook Friends you have. Is that number 100? 800? 1200? Now, with how many of those Facebook Friends have you actually held a conversation? Most people forget an important step when it comes to establishing a network online: Making the effort to create real a relationship. Establishing a network and building relationships go hand in hand. It’s easy to make a profile and follow a few people on Linkedin, however, it takes self confidence and asking other sincere questions to become involved with and learn from others on social sites.
Intentionality is the Key to Success
In order to grow your network, you must be intentionally active. This means reaching out to those with who you look up to or have similar interests. Don’t hesitate to ask people for advice or questions to learn more about them, even if you’ve never talked to them before. Take your social opportunity to become noticed as a professional online. Write and read blog posts, ask questions, and share your opinions within your network. This can help you exercise your mind and build upon your current thoughts conversations with others, ultimately building your relationships with them.
With this new skill of intentionally social networking in person to then keep in close touch with online, you’ll find it easier to have intricate conversations that are purposeful, mutually beneficial, and lasting.
Blog Author: Monna Tayts
Marketing Committee Member, Lancaster Young Professionals
Associate Underwriter, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group
Connect with Monna on Linkedin!
Monna Tayts is an advocate of the professional growth of young professionals in the greater Lancaster community and enjoys helping others take positive steps towards successful and well-rounded professional futures. Monna works as an Associate Underwriter at Eastern Alliance Insurance Group. Monna earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Communications, with an option in Public Relations from Millersville University in 2016. She comes from a background in sales, marketing, social media development and customer service.