If you are active on social media you’re already building your network. Whether your connections are virtual or are people you talk to every day, you have a strong foundation to learn and grow with. It’s the 21st century, and we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and watch the social media world fly by. We have to embrace it and make those meaningful connections!
Use social media and your online presence to help you identify your strengths, and then use those strengths to build upon your weaknesses. To find these strengths, follow people who inspire you and make you happy. People who you want to connect with and enjoy similar things as you. Don’t follow people who make you feel bad about yourself, and don’t try to compare your everyday moments to their highlight reel that they post on social media. If you are trying to be like someone else, you’re mimicking their strengths, not yours.
As an introvert, some parts come easier for me than others when networking. It is much easier for me to connect with a conference keynote speaker on Twitter than it is to get the nerve to blindly introduce myself when I see them on the treadmill at the hotel gym. Understanding the importance of building my network, though, and using social media to my advantage, has provided me with the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and make those real connections to put my career into drive.
In my world, social media makes meeting people IRL more comfortable. Participate in Twitter chats, follow hashtags for your profession, and live tweet conferences. I love when you’re tweeting from a conference session, and you get up at the end to find the person you’ve been tweeting with sitting directly in front of you. You both get a good laugh and are provided with a great conversation starter. Build off of that common ground and skip the awkward small talk! It’s a win-win!
Social media is an easy way to use your connections and effectively organize your interests to become engaged in online communities that match your passions. Our networks should be empowering us to work together to share knowledge and create depth in our community. We want to share knowledge within our networks to not only strengthen our own skills, but to also strengthen our profession. The more people know about who we are and what we do, the better!
Don’t be afraid to build your brand. You’re worth it.