Being Social – Good Morning Barista!

How do you go about Being Social when your social interactions are reduced? I was talking with a friend of mine the other day who is also seeking a new role at the moment. One of the things they commented on was that they missed the interaction with others which comes from being in a workplace.

That set me thinking about how we can all maintain and grow our ability to interact with others and be successful on a social level. Here are some thoughts on how I think we can achieve social success even if we do not have the interactions that the workplace brings.

As Humans we are social animals, and a strong social network is essential for our mental and physical health. So what can we do to maintain regular social interactions and grow in confidence?

Continue reading “Being Social – Good Morning Barista!”

Building A Support Network

Generally speaking, we need others around us for support, encouragement, challenge, stimulation, intimacy, and love. In fact, humans are so dependent on social relationships that our health depends on them. There is a lot of research that demonstrates that loneliness increases the risk of depression, suicide, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, and altered brain function, and can even knock years off of your life.

When we have a strong social network, we can rely on it for emotional and physical support. Good friends will listen when you have a crisis, cheer you when you succeed, point out when you are being a jerk, and show up to move your couch or cook a meal when you are sick. If you are struggling to build self-acceptance, having friends who accept you as you are, and who you accept as they are, provides a useful template.

If you don’t currently have a strong social network, here’s how to build one:

Continue reading “Building A Support Network”

Four Unexpected Benefits of Social Networking

Benefits of Social NetworkingIn the series of pages in the Social Media Guide section of this blog you will see that I talk about how it’s a truly social web out there. No one can argue that. People are flocking to Facebook (a billion active monthly users) and are spending a large portion of their Internet time on social networks. Because of this, the experts tell us, as business owners, we also need to be on social networks.

It make sense. It definitely does.

But beyond simply trying to connect with our target audiences, social networking offers some other unexpected benefits including…

SEO Benefits: More and more, search engines are taking cues from social media to discover what content is truly valuable and what they should include in their search results. That’s why it’s not just important that you are present in social networking, but that your target audience is talking about your content. Make it easy for them to share your blog posts and create buzz for you. It will not only increase your traffic from social networks, but it can also increase your traffic from organic search.

Knowing People Before You Meet Them: Okay, I’m not talking about stalking anyone here, but there is tremendous value in already knowing a lot about people before you make a connection with them. Social networking gives you the opportunity to find people who share similar interests and values as you before you attempt to make a connection. Then, when you do approach someone, you can use the information you already have to get their attention and show them you’re someone who has done their homework.

Knowledge is PowerLearning About Stuff: Social media is a great research tool that allows you to learn new things about your subject area, get business advice and more. If you’re approaching social media simply as a broadcasting tool, you are missing out on a much more enriching experience. Always be selective in the people you follow, so you can get the best results from your social media streams as possible.

Media Coverage: If you’ve positioned yourself as a person knowledgeable in your subject area and have grown a nice following, congratulations. You have become an expert that can be called on by various members of the traditional and new media for opinions, interviews and more. It’s not uncommon for reporters to find their sources through social media, so put your best foot forward and showcase your knowledge.

It’s clear that the social web is here to stay and that’s definitely a good thing. There is so much value it can bring us if we approach it responsibly and wisely.

Using Twitter for Networking

Several years back, networking required a great deal of work. People had to attend events and memorise other people’s numbers. It had to involve a degree of proximity. Luckily, times have changed and networking has become easier than ever before. Millions of people have embraced social media platforms like Twitter.

It has a simple, streamlined approach that facilitates fast, informal conversations. Its real-time communication capabilities make it a great platform for you to expand your network. As you will soon come to learn, there are many easy ways to use Twitter for networking.

1. Finding The Right People To Follow

The starting point for great networking is finding the right people. There are many tools that you can use to do this. Twitter Search lets you use search operators to search for specific keywords and people. You can therefore use it to search for influencers in your market or people talking about your field of expertise.  In the “Who to Follow” tab, Twitter offers a directory of people that you might be interested in following. The suggested accounts are based on who you follow already. Some of the people you find and follow will return the favor and follow you too. Therefore, the more users you follow, the more users you will attract as followers.

2. Show Your Followers Your Personal Brand

Once you have searched for and connected with the right people in your niche by following them, you will have to ensure that your profile markets your personal brand. Details in your profile such as your bio and avatar determine what people think of you. A killer bio can get you more targeted followers. Your bio space has a 160-character limit meaning you will have to make the most out of every word you use. You should get your priorities sorted and start by including the most important information that you would like to get across to your targeted followers.

For example, if you are a graphic designer, start by providing this information other than writing about your addiction to football and golf. You may therefore have to exclude some hobbies. You should also include relevant keywords to enable people to find you during searches. For your avatar, you should use a recent photo of your face. For an organization with an account managed by many people, the logo should be used as the avatar.

3. Tweet Consistently With Your Followers In Mind

Your followers need to hear from you on a regular basis throughout the day and week. You therefore need to maintain an online presence by tweeting consistently. You should however take their interests into consideration. Ask yourself whether your tweeting is too much to the extent that you are filling up their feed with irrelevant tweets. In such a case, they will most likely ignore or block you.

The content you tweet should show others your interests. You can share current issues on your field of expertise, share advice, ask questions, solicit for opinions or post links to interesting articles related to your niche. In that way, you’ll have people reach out to you with comments or ideas of their own. This gives you an opportunity to add value by demonstrating your knowledge of your field as you also gain knowledge from the other users. This adds value and helps you attract even more followers.

All of your tweets will have an impact on your network. Think about how your tweets will be perceived by others. Make sure they don’t come off as being too sales-oriented or pushy. There is no harm in tweeting about what you are doing once in a while. Just make it fun and interesting, and don’t overdo it to the point that a visitor to your profile sees no relation between the information on your bio and the content in majority of your tweets.

4. Show Interest In Other People’s Tweets

You cannot successfully use Twitter for networking without showing interest in other people’s tweets. You need to respond to other peoples’ comments and questions. This can be done by typing @ along with their Twitter handle orby clicking the arrow button. Give a feedback or comment on others’ tweets. If the tweets contain a link to an article, give your opinion or whether you agree or disagree with the article and the reason for your decision.

A great way to show interest is by retweeting. Retweeting someone shows that you are paying attention to what they are saying and find them to be interesting. It is a way of showing interest in networking with someone without being too pushy. If you add some personal comments to the retweet, they’ll find out a bit about your personality before beginning more one-on-one networking.

5. Create A List of Influencers – Your Personal Learning Network

With Twitter, you can create lists of people you think are worth paying special attention to. This feature enables you to quickly read tweets from a certain list. Other people can also follow your list if they have an interest in the same subject. The list can be an important source of information. Create a public list of influencers in your industry and let each one of them know that they have been added to your list. As you come across people to add to your list, inform them that you have added them to show your recognition.

6. Share Your Network

As you continue to meet people on Twitter, you’ll come across people who have a lot in common. You should take the initiative and introduce such people. This will strengthen your network. The people you share contacts with will most likely do the same with you.

Does it start and end on Twitter?

After you successfully use Twitter for networking, you can go the extra mile. Spend time networking beyond Twitter. You can exchange phone numbers and talk over the phone or even chat on Skype.

Twitter is a great networking tool. Unfortunately, few people utilize it for this purpose. Make Twitter one of the important tools in your overall business networking plan and reap the benefit of establishing unlimited and valuable connections.