Online networking is now the norm.
Sure, we will never replace F2F, or face-to-face (where the real connection occurs), but to reach more people, we need to hit social media—and now it’s where a majority of our first connections will occur.
The benefits of virtual networking go beyond traditional connections: We can reconnect with our current or former relationships (think: friends, coworkers) and meet new colleagues and potential employers or clients, and we can preview people before we reach out to them to determine what kind of connection we want to make.
As a career coach, I get a lot of frustrated clients confused about online networking and how it works. It’s actually quite simple: Treat online networking as close to F2F networking as you can. Make a connection online, and then follow up by meeting virtually or in person. And, as in “real life,” not every connection is a profound one and that’s okay. It’s the quality connections that make the difference.
So why are some people better at online networking than others? Why are some people really good at finding and activating new online connections?
Because they’ve learned how to harness the power of three powerful actions: likes, comments, and shares. They know that effective connecting goes beyond a simple click and a couple of taps on the keyboard.
You may think that “Liking” an online post just means that you like it, right? Of course. But it goes deeper than that—at least from the system side of an application or web site. Liking a post activates algorithms within the site to add the post to your newsfeed and others in your network. And depending on the site, it can also boost the post in other feeds.
Coach’s Tip: Likes are nice, but don’t get hung up on them. And never equate the number of likes with the quality of the post. Be sure to read the post first—because as soon as you like it, you’ve put your stamp of approval on it.
Look before you like.
Want to Comment? Even better. Not only does the comment show up in your newsfeed and the author’s, but you can also boost the power of comments by using callouts (by using their screen name and the @ symbol, e.g., “Nice article @MichaelThomasSunnarborg!”). The @ mention encourages engagement.
Comments are fantastic, especially if a post resonates with you. And if it does, say why! One of my favorite things to do when I comment is to quote a line or two from the post that really strikes me, and then comment directly on that quote. It encourages interested skimmers to read the full post.
Coach’s Tip: Think of this interaction as a conversation. If you agree, then compliment. If you disagree, don’t start a battle. Be as respectful online as you would be in person. Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it out loud, don’t say it online.
Comments create conversations.
And now we come to the frosting on the cake: The coveted Share. This is the best possible way to spread the love. This is dedication, folks. When you share a post, you’re not only confessing an affinity for the post and author, but you’re also willing to share it with your network. It’s like having someone passing out flyers for you. Nice!
Sharing is a wonderful way of demonstrating to someone that you’re truly interested in what they are posting. Sharing also validates the author and adds momentum to their viewpoint. Anyone who is trying to reach more people should be telling you to like, comment, and share their posts—that is, as long as you really do like the posts and want to sincerely share them.
Coach’s Tip: No cheating here, people. Your actions must come from the heart. Don’t just “share to share”; share because you are adding to the discussion. Otherwise, keep scrolling.
Sharing makes you an advocate.
When used sincerely, the acts of liking, commenting, and sharing social media posts can be an excellent way of bringing more awareness to what you and others are paying attention to. And if you are someone who wants to make more new connections, it’s the fastest way to reach your goals and be educated at the same time.
And if you truly like this post, then go ahead and practice: Like, Comment or Share it—and we can continue this conversation online. See how easy that was!
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is a career coach and the founder of The White Box Club™—FREE meetings and resources for people in career transition. Download the first 5 chapters of The White Box Club Handbook for FREE here. Learn more at michaelcreative.com
Originally published at michaelcreative.com