How to get the most out of social networks: A short guideline
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Xing are social networks that most of us have at least one of, if not all, and use more or less everyday. The average user spends 23% of their time online with these social networks according to a study by Nielsen. But have you ever wondered how to get the most out of them? What does social network mean, which activities does it comprise of and how can we use the full available potential of these websites?
Social networks are according to Barker "Individuals or groups linked by some common bond, shared social status, similar or shared functions, or geographic or cultural connection. Social networks form and discontinue on an ad hoc basis depending on specific need and interest."
Here are some brief suggestions for how to realize the potential of social networking sites, how to become an active and successful networker and to how to build strong relationships.
1. Be vulnerable
Social network users tend to portray their lives more glamourous and interesting than they really are. Please keep in mind that trust is created not only through strength and fun and exciting adventures but also through weaknesses and personal challenges.
Share your downs as you share your ups. The situations trouble you could be a good chance to ask your network for advice. On the one hand, it will cheer you up and help you to solve the issues you have. On the other hand, it is trust building because you show the whole puzzle of your personality.
2. Be engaged
Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networks are all about interesting people, topics and discussions. The more people are involved with it, the better. Motivate your colleagues and friends to participate, to feed, to seed and to weed. It is not about self-promoting but about interesting and challenging topics and news. Reward the ones that contribute to your pages by sharing and giving them feedback too.
Keep one point in mind: as mentioned before, its not just about positive spotlights. Show also your vulnerable side. The same is relevant for companies and institutions. It's all about creating long and stable relationships which are built on the good and the bad moments you share.
3. Be supportive
It is not just about you but also about other people in your network. Promoting simply yourself will turn other people off. It is a SOCIAL network. The word “social” implies friendly relations, companionship and convivial activities. Promote people, companies and institutions you admire and think are worth promoting. Share their stories with the people in your network.
This shows your interest for certain topics and reflects your personality and interests. People will love to connect with you as you broaden their knowledge and interests.
4. Be provocative
Challenge people, force them to step out of their box and get new insights. This will allow you to show your real personality and who you really are. It is not about upsetting everyone. It is about building stronger relationships and being yourself.
5. Be once in a while professional
Include your business ego as well as your private ego. Your job and profession is a big part of your life. Normally you spend more than 8 hours at work, so share it. As said before, show your whole personality, build trust by sharing all the puzzles of your life and not just an excerpt.