Reprinted with permission from Quintessential Careers
In less than five years, Facebook has emerged as a household name and now has more than 70 million active users, according to Facebook statistics. A recent ExecuNet newsletter reports that “60 percent of wealthy Americans with an average income of $287,000/year and net worth of $2.1 million participate in online social networks, compared to just 27 percent a year ago.” These individuals belong to an average 2.8 networks.
While online social networks are useful in terms of helping you make connections, developing a great “brand” identity and maintaining a good online reputation is of critical importance. This article will provide five strategies for creating online social networking that will help you build your reputation and leverage your contacts
1. Be Selective.
It’s not who you know, it is “who knows you back.” Connect only with friends and colleagues who will speak favorably of you, and who you will recommend to others.
2. Be a Good Friend.
One of the best ways to create loyalty, brand identity and a good online reputation is to share non-proprietary information that is of potential interest to your contacts. You can greatly increase the value of your network by sharing what you know. A great way to learn of potential topics of interest to your friends is to create Google News Alerts or feeds that will send you automatic alerts with current information.
3. Be Polite and Cautious.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it all. Remember that adding comments to blogs and uploading pictures can leave a permanent trail and written record. Posting information online is like sending a postcard—anyone can see it, and it could get in the hand of the wrong person.
4. Be Vigilant.
Many employers search the Web prior to making interview invitations or employment offers. Be careful how you share personal information. For example, never Twitter (see text box,To Twitter or Not to Twitter) about a job offer until you’ve accepted, or Tweet about a resignation. Negative comments can spread like a nasty pandemic. A general rule of thumb: if your mom would be embarrassed, publish under a pseudonym if you must. Set up a Google News Alert to monitor information about you that is available on the web—and request removal of negative comments or inaccurate information.
5. Be Transparent.
Share information about your career, your interests, and what’s important to you. Update your info regularly with care. The more your contacts know of your interests, the more they can be of help to you.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by visiting the Job Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms at Quintessential Careers.