When it comes to networking (really, anywhere but today’s focus is on online) it is best to 1) be seen as either an expert or a person of influence and 2) to surround yourself with experts and people of influence. In this post, I want to demo how to pull that off. In a nutshell, create multiple outposts online, establish a presence that draws attention and then interact with those you’ve attracted. In case none of that makes sense but you are intrigued, continue reading.
Some time ago, I noticed a curious thing. When I would do the poor man’s background check, I saw a pattern in the search results. For example, check out what happens when I Google myself.
Do you see it too? Probably not, I did not notice it at first until I did the same search on Bing, Yahoo, Ask and a few other search engines. Let me share stats on what I saw. On Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask, five of the search results point to one of the social networks I’ve joined (Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn). There were also links to blogs I contribute to as well. In every instance, there is a biography I have created pointing out my professional interests to some extent.
Consider the possibilities, what if someone Googled (or Binged, or Yahooed, or whatever) your name? And in that search, they found several links that all purported to your professional significance. This would be a great way to give a good impression to recruiters and protect your online reputation as most people tend not to look past the second page of results.
Keep in mind that the important thing is that you establish a point of contact on these networks. (It’s more to your benefit if you were actively sharing your professional opinion and interacting on each social network, but your time ma y be limited.)
When signing up to these networks, please do keep in mind the following factors:
1. Have a consistent message! State who you are in a succinct and professional manner. In other words, umm… have a mission statement that explains who you are and what you are about. For example, when I was recruiting for Microsoft, my mission statement (for lack of a better term) was “I seek geeks for the Microsoft International Recruiting Team.” Or, something along those lines. See? One glance at that statement and you knew who I was and what I was about.
2. Have a professional photo that is consistent across all social networks. People do judge books by their covers. It’s just the way it is, so make sure you are using a photo that speaks to who you are professionally.
3. Make it easy to contact you! Although one could reach out to you via the social network you are a member of, some people still prefer email or some other social network than the one they found you on. Go figure. This is why I suggest that after you have created a consistent, professional message, across multiple social networks that you set up an About.me account.
About.me is like a business card on the web. There you can post your picture, information about yourself, links to social networks you’ve joined, blogs you contribute to and have emails directed to you (among other things). Once you have your About.me page set up, go back to all of the other social network profiles you’ve created and link to your About.me page. This will allow people to contact you via the method they prefer.
What is also cool about using About.me is that you can see who has visited your profile. (See the arrow below? You have to be logged into About.me to see this page.) By reviewing who has been checking me out, I have an automatic “in” with them. Hello so and so, thanks for dropping by my profile. I see we both have an interest in… something. Care to schedule a chat and get better acquainted? Or… something similar. Make sense?
Let me know how this strategy works for you! Once you set yourself up on the various social networks, how long did it take before all the links you set up dominated the search results when you googled your name? I want to know.
Happy New Year!