7 Ways To Use Social Media To Network

Networking is just one of those things you have to do whether you like it or not. So why not utilize networking through social media? It's an element that comes along with any job, and if you want to make the right connections or further your career, you have to network your little heart out. But there are multiple ways you can do it, and using social media is one of the easiest and most creative. So put those selfie sticks away because now we are talking business.

As someone who is typically shy when I am first introduced to another person, I usually have a hard time making a connection with other people. It's not the greatest problem to have when I get invited to a lot of events for being a writer, but it's something that I am slowly getting over and I found that using social media has really helped with that. Even though social media is known for posting selfies and catching up with friends, it's also a great tool to use for your career. It's essentially a global portfolio for you to sell yourself, and if you use it right, you can gain the right momentum for your career. Whether you are just starting out, or you don't know how to exactly use social media to network, below are seven tips to help you out in the right direction.

1. Clean Up Your Social Networks

This general rule might be simple, but some people definitely forget to do this. Before you make any sort of connection with anyone, make sure your profile looks interesting, inviting, and reflective of you while still remaining somewhat professional. It doesn't need to be boring, but a profile picture of you doing a keg stand may not send exactly the right message. If you want to make the right moves and connections for your career, this is absolutely the first step you need to take. Another thing to keep in mind is what you type and put into those social profiles. According to the 2014 Jobvite Recruiting Survey, "66 percent of hiring managers said they would hold poor spelling and grammar against candidates." Of course, no matter what, you always need to be careful with what you put on social media, because the Internet is forever, but this is incredibly important when you are trying to make a good first impression when you are trying to connect with others.

2. Establish Connections

The whole point of social media is to be social. Retweet and direct message the heck out of people. Be genuine, but not pushy. If you are following someone you admire and want to connect with them, the best way to do that is to message them to see if they would be up for an informational interview. Also, don't be afraid to friend people after meeting them at a networking event. That is a perfect way to solidify a connection and to remind them who you are. Whenever I admired someone, I would follow them on social media and if an opportunity arrived when I felt like we should connect, I would contact them. The possibilities are endless when it comes to connecting with people with social media and the great thing about the Internet is that you don't have to do it face-to-face.

3. Join Groups

Joining groups through all types of social media channels is the perfect way to meet others that have similar interests like you do. Whatever field you are interested in, I am sure there is a group out there for it. Consider it like joining a high school club, by joining these groups and being interactive, you are permitting yourself to network by connecting with people that you would never meet anywhere else. According to a Social Media Today article about why you should join groups on LinkedIn, it states that by joining a group, you now have access to thousands of people just by searching through the members list of each group. Not a bad way to make new friends, huh?

4. Share Your Own Work

Allow social media to be your new portfolio, I am not saying that you should brag, but hopefully you are proud enough of your work that you are willing to share it on all your social channels. When you share your work on social media, it allows for other people to see what you do. I have been lucky enough to be contacted by putting my work out there, which has connected me with some very cool people. By showcasing your work, you are allowing for an organic connection to happen. Always include your website in your profile page and add your email for an easy way for people to contact you.

5. Follow Companies You Are Interested In

Social media is a great tool to follow; it allows you to interact with companies that you are hoping to potentially work with. Make sure you are following them through all your social media channels (especially LinkedIn), and then re-post or retweet them when you feel it's relevant to your own career goals. Whenever I followed a company through LinkedIn, it opened up my network to connect with other people by allowing me to see who else was following them. Companies want their future employers to be familiar with their brand, and if you are constantly interacting with them on the daily, it shows that you know what kind of stuff they are producing and are familiar with their company. If you are planning on applying with the company, this is a great way to keep up-to-date with what they are doing before going to an interview.

6. Use And Search Hashtags

You either love them or hate them, but either way, they are a great way to connect with others around you. If you want to find someone that has similar interests, usually hashtags is the best way to go. Believe it or not, a few companies use the hashtag #wearehiring or #hiring when they are posting about a job. Just by clicking on that hashtag, it will open up a world to you for possible job opportunities. I can remember spending hours searching through hashtags and companies' hiring accounts looking for jobs. It is a little time consuming, but if you are determined, you will find most likely something. Also, by searching those hashtags, you could also potentially find companies that have created accounts solely for posting job opportunities. Seriously, the possibilities are endless!

7. Be Active

Honestly, none of the other steps will matter if you don't stay active on social media. While they are a great way to connect with others, truly use these platforms to continue to constantly stay connected, especially if you are looking for a job. According to a Jobvite social recruiting survey, 93 percent of recruiters plan to use social media to recruit future employees. So by being active on social media, you are allowing potential employers to see how you communicate, work, and express yourself on a daily basis.

While we love to use social media for posting photographs and watching cat videos, it's a really great tool to connect with others. So make your profile look pretty and write yourself a heck of a bio, you are going to be a networking super star before you know it.

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