Learning to Network and Brand Yourself on Social Media

Marcy TweteDWN’s “Building Your Brand Using Social Media” event on Oct. 31 sold out quickly. If you couldn’t make the event in person, enjoy these lessons from guest speaker Marcy Twete, reported by DWN Communications Team Member Dorothy Griggs.

An expert in community development, corporate responsibility and diversity initiatives, Marcy Twete  is also the founder and adviser of the professional development website Career Girl Network and the author of the networking book “You Know Everybody!” Following are highlights from a recent workshop with DWN where Marcy shared the ins and outs of social networking.

Why Network?

Many people view networking as a four-letter word but also recognize it as a necessary evil. According to Marcy, the best way to think of networking is as a way to fulfill a need.

Because networking is so important, it is crucial to become a strategic networker and ensure that your efforts are intentional. Marcy described a strategic, intentional networker as someone who has contacts that are trusted and loyal, but is always adding new contacts; someone who is curious and loves meeting new people; someone who is willing to make new connections and is partnership focused; and someone who knows what’s important.

Where to Network?

The world of social media is constantly changing and evolving. With so many platforms available, many people are confused about which ones to use. Marcy suggested picking the one or two platforms that you enjoy most and committing to maintaining a presence on those. Rule of thumb: If you can’t invest time, don’t use it.

While many understand that LinkedIn is for business contacts, the other forms of social media are not so clear cut. Marcy provided the following analogies to help us determine how best to conduct ourselves on popular forms of social media.

• Twitter can be thought of as making contacts at a large cocktail party.

• Facebook is the backyard barbeque with family and friends.

• LinkedIn can be viewed as your attendance at a business meeting.

• Goggle Plus is the party everyone is talking about, but no one knows exactly where it is!

How to Network

Develop a networking wish list:

• What do you need?

• Who do you need?

• What processes do you need?

• What resources do you need?

• Assign a Career Guardian Angel for each goal. This could be someone you know or someone that you admire. Most importantly, write it down!

Create a professional bio:

• Start with your resume

• State who you are (without your employer’s name)

• Bring out big guns first

• Don’t forget past accomplishments

• Include at least one personal tidbit

Be mindful of what you post!

When reviewing job applications, 78 percent of prospective employees will do a Google search on a job prospect.

Questions to ask yourself before posting information online:

• How do I want to be perceived by future employers?

• Who will be looking at my profile?

• Where do I want to go in the future?

• Am I comfortable with my grandmother, boss and best friend looking at my profile?

Building Your Network

When you meet someone new online:

Follow them on Twitter

Skype

Introduce them to your network

When you meet someone new offline:

Perfect your elevator pitch

Write it down, and practice, practice, practice!

Strategies for both online and offline new contacts:

• Nurture the relationship

• Don’t ask for something every time you make contact

• Don’t give up on no. No usually means, “I need more information.”

• Don’t assume anything

• Follow up (STEP):

S – Situation. Describe the situation where initial contact took place.

T – Thank you. Handwritten notes are preferable.

E – Extraordinary. Talk about what makes you uniquely special.

P – Plan your next steps

• Ask how you can help the other person

• Be authentic!

Other Helpful Tidbits

• Create an online portfolio. DePaul employees have access to Digication, a free ePortfolio.

• Consider buying your name for use as your website domain

• Become a blogger/writer in your field, or ask to be a guest contributor on a blog you like and respect

• More social outlets:

o Aboutme.com – a splash page owned by Goggle

o Weebly.com

o wix.com

In closing, I’ll leave you with one of Marcy’s Favorite Tweets:

“Ask for what you want, you get advice. Ask for advice, you get what you want.”

Dorothy Griggs is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is the department assistant for the Center for Students with Disabilities at DePaul University.

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