Joining the Right Social Networks for a Job Search

“Which are the best social networks to use for job search?” That’s a good question with no clear-cut answer, as it depends on your definition of “best.” There are an overwhelmingly large number of social networks, and new ones being created weekly. Examples include business social network sites, more socially-oriented networks sites, photo and music sharing social network sites, dating social network sites, highly vertical professional social network sites, and social network aggregation sites.

Each one is slightly different. And none have the same type of social network members. But just because there are many social networks, it doesn’t mean that you need to join a large number of them.

To avoid information overload, start by focusing on just one or two networks. Facebook and LinkedIn are two great choices. Once you become familiar with these two main networks, the transition to any other network will be an easy one. You will already have your content in place, so it is just a matter of making a few tweaks to accommodate the social network specifics.

Due to its focus and Fortune 500 pedigree, LinkedIn is a tremendous channel to leverage in your people-search. Bear in mind, though, that you can only connect directly to people in your own personal network. No introduction is needed; just send them an ‘invitation’). To safeguard its unique niche, respect its members’ time, and eliminate potential spamming, or UCE (unsolicited commercial email), LinkedIn does not allow you to connect to people beyond your personal network.

Connecting to the contacts of one of your personal network acquaintances is highly recommended to vastly expand your personal network. These are individuals who are one time or two times removed from your personal network. You will need an “introduction” to be made on your behalf by your acquaintance to their contact. This helps to maintain the high quality of LinkedIn’s online network.

LinkedIn’s features include a profile page that is customizable by adding a head-shot image, personal/business information, email address, and other relevant information. Users can seek endorsements from past clients or colleagues who are willing to provide testimonials on their behalf. This is a great way to build you credibility and have potential recruiters, employers, and consultants learn more about you.

Groups within LinkedIn will provide you with the ability to research and join specific groups of interest around product/services, markets/industries, or other focal points. This, too, is a great way to expand your presence/brand and network via people-searching.

The Answers feature within LinkedIn offers the ability to pose questions to your network if looking for solutions to a business problem or market research. These questions are posed and emailed only to your personal network, and you have the ability to mail to all or to be selective about who will receive your message. This also enables you to reply to questions you receive from others in your network, and it’s a fabulous tool for positioning yourself by adding value and demonstrating your willingness to help and offer solutions to others.

NOTE:Do not use this vehicle to ‘sell’ or ‘solicit’ business. This is a surefire way to isolate yourself from the very network that can help you. The business that does come your way will arrive more indirectly as a result of your ‘contributions’ in asking/answering questions and providing value.

By inviting others to join your network, you can increase your network of professional contacts and broaden your connections exponentially. You can identify potential connections via LinkedIn’s search functionality.

The other place to start with social media is Facebook. whose sheer size makes it the largest online social networking site and one of the Internet’s most trafficked destinations. When many people think of Facebook, they envision it as the place where college students post photos from parties and attempt to hook up with romantic partners. However, this social networking site is now a dynamo that has been increasingly embraced by individuals over 25.

Today it is a viable place for professionals to network with the ultimate goal of finding their next jobs. So despite their high number of younger users, don’t look down on Facebook or MySpace. Recruiters and HR mine these huge pools of social communities every day, looking for candidates for their job assignments.

Why ignore such a potentially rich source of contacts that can help you in many different ways? Whereas LinkedIn is more business focused, Facebook and MySpace are just the opposite. They emphasize the ‘social’ component of the phrase ‘social media.”

That means you will need to be more deliberate when setting up your profile if you’re new to these sites. You also should consider modifying your profile if you’re a current member to take a more professional approach with it. You may wish to forgo filling out certain sections that make it seem too personal (e.g., relationship status, interested in, favorite books/movies).

That said, you won’t want to eliminate your personal side. You’ll want some personal aspects so as to demonstrate your authenticity as a qualified individual. Also, letting part of “you” show through helps make you more multidimensional. Noting some of your unique interests, hobbies, and pursuits can help others make more of a ‘connection’ with you. These qualities can humanize you. It’s always easier to write off a candidate who is no more than a name on a page along with some job experiences as opposed to someone who comes off as a real person.

Let’s face it: People hire people, not profiles. This is what makes informational meetings so important. They enable you to explore career opportunities and learn about those who are working in an industry or company you might like to enter. While social networking can make connecting all the more efficient, it still doesn’t replace the face-to-face meeting.

Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. is an educator, author, and trainer. Her most recent books include The Social Media Survival Guide (Also available in Spanish), The Online Job Search Survival Guide, and S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP: The Secrets of Repeatable Business Success. She is frequently cited by the national media as an expert in social media. She is Director of Communications, External Affairs, and a Lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Social Networking: Points to Ponder

Given my career background in IT, I still get excited with some of the new technology-creations people come up with and especially get intrigued when things kind-of mesh together so naturally. This means that somewhere behind the code, some really amazing brains created this ~ and this where Social Networking falls-in. Social Networking for me – is a well laid-out map linking (meshing) everyone together in its own mysterious way (for us developers we probably have more of an understanding of what’s needed to make this happen – but in the end; you either enjoy it or you don’t).

Social Networking is still very primitive, from my point of view, I can see Social Networking moving technology in a whole new direction and potentially changing how people interact with the www (Internet) fairly similar to how Google changed how people searched online.

Whether you are new or old to social networking tool it’s important to continue to stay aware of your online presence – being accessible 24/7 to the world. [Unless you’ve made all necessary security adjustments to prevent this – and still this point could be an argued.]

Either way, here are some basic guidelines to review for those of us who have online presence:

#1 Is this Business or Personal?

When you decide to embark within the social networking bandwagon you’ll first need to have an email address. Be careful here which email address you use to register – your registration email choice can have an impact on your business-ethics, or could pretty much potentially cost you your job!

If you are using a social networking site (of your choice) for personal usage, however if you choose to use a work-related email address, just ensure that you are aware of your organization’s policies and/or verdict on Social Networking usage at work guidelines (if any). Pleading the “naive” card doesn’t always ring well with companies – know what your boundaries are and use them wisely.

If your aim is to use social networking sites for personal use – then by all means, use your own personal email address and if you don’t have one, get one! There are countless sites out there that you can register yourself with that will provide you with FREE email access.

Other points to ponder related to #1 is to do some house-cleaning. Once your account is created and that you now have an online presence, not just right now but continuously proceed with doing some house-cleaning of this account. Dust doesn’t accumulate as quickly online as it does in my living room but it can get messier faster since I “kind-of” really don’t see it?! What am I talking about?…

If you don’t want to start receiving (or increase your already existing) SPAM email counts, you’ll have to decide what it is you wish to share with the public (a.k.a. the entire world).

First decide if you wish to make your email address visible on this new social networking site, and if you do – should it be visible to everyone or only to selected few?

Second – go through your social networking site’s settings / options and review all of its settings and options. I’m 100% sure you’ll find some very interesting things here; similar to when you decide to move your sofa to do some “real” cleaning… you always find ‘stuff’ here don’t-cha?!

OK so what to look for… check for setting that will send you email notifications. Do you really want to receive an email every time someone interacts with your social networking site? If not, then by all means – disable these unnecessary notifications! Especially if you’ve registered using your work-related email account! Hello! IT will be knocking on your door (or cubicle) anytime – your dozen if not hundreds of notifications (which are basically spam messages) are taking up room in the email system and is using up what we IT people call useless bandwidth….You’re going to be checking your social networking site anyways so why have redundant messages telling you the same thing you’ll be seeing when you log-in to the site?!

There are countless other sections I could drill into but once you open-up this beast take time to tame it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how manageable social networking sites can be – but don’t just open this section up once! Return to your options; settings; security; privacy… whatever it’s call – fairly frequently. I make it a challenge to check my settings on my sites at least every 3 months (quarterly).

#2 Friends / Associates

Choose wisely! Friends are the links between you and people. This is what Social Networking sites are based on. The more the merrier (for them!).

What should you do and/or not do?

Well first the obvious – don’t go “hitting” on your friends’ friends. This is a “no-no”. If you wouldn’t flirt with random people when walking through the mall, then why would things be any different when you are hiding behind your social network profile? This goes the same for “poking” – please “poke” carefully. Sometimes what you think is done in good fun or what you think is a simple “Poke – Hey, how’s it going?”, could turn High-School drama on you in a split second!

Another area is counts – some people think it’s important that they have a high number of Friends in their list. They know everyone!…sure you do!? That’s why you’re at home Saturday night “creeping” people’s profiles… [sarcasm gets the better part of me at times, I don’t stop it cause I like it!…what’s that old saying, “If you can’t take the heat then get out of the kitchen!”]

Just because you and Jo-Blow like the same song on YouTube doesn’t mean you should request him to become your friend. If you think you’ve got more than ‘a song’ in common and would like to ‘get-to-know-each-other’ then send him a private message. This way, if he chooses to ignore you (which is fine – really cause liking the song “Don’t-cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me” doesn’t mean he’s looking?!). Sending someone a private message puts the “ball” in their court and presents them with the choice of either “playing” or “turning down” the opportunity. In your private message you can then also state what your intentions are (ex. common interests; live in the same community; participate some similar sports; go to the same University maybe we could meet up for lunch and discuss Philosophy?…).

#3 Think Before you Post!

Back in my day, people didn’t just shout out (yes out-loud) randomly “statuses” during class, or at work, or while walking down the street!? Today, social media sites and social networking sites make “shouting” so easy that it’s almost an obsession. “I need to tell people what I’m doing/thinking right now cause my pose online is just dying to know!”… ya I sit here waiting for you to update your status… sure if I were stalking you! Yes it’s nice to get updates and get interaction with people ’cause that’s what “social networking” is all about, however choose your messages wisely, and especially how you wish to share them.

Example – Mary-Lou wants to throw her husband a surprise party. She broadcasts the event on Facebook to let everyone know when and where. Mary-Lou didn’t check her Facebook account notifications and so all of her notifications are still “active”. Her husband checks their email account, and voila get to read everyone’s comment about his upcoming party.–> Bad judgment on Mary-Lou’s part. <-- Another example - Betty-Jo thinks Susan & her husband are having issues. Instead of posting her concerns on Susan's Facebook wall (which might be public to everyone to read) she sends her a Private message. Susan replies back and let's Betty-Jo know that, "no, not everything is fine - John's work is just going through some restructuring so he's a little depressed at the moment, but we're seeing a therapist to help us cope with this. Thanks for your concern." --> Good judgment call on Betty-Jo’s part. <-- Other common-sense "faux-pas": Spamming people Flame wars (don't argue publicly online) Keep it PG 13 Busy-bodies exist everywhere, even online (some people just live for drama!) #4 Privacy Don't forget to check your privacy settings regularly. As stated in rule #1 - Return to your options; settings; security; privacy... whatever it's call - fairly frequently. Be aware of what it is you are forward-facing out publicly. Is it too much? Is it inappropriate? If you are friends (online) with all of your work colleagues, and at the same time are bashing your work or your boss... how long do you expect this to go on prior to them finding out? #5 What's your Purpose / Mission? Are you promoting something? Are you selling something? Is your site topic specific? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then maybe creating a social networking site specific for your business or product would be more appropriate. You could have two sites, one for personal usage and one more topic/business related. You could even create "Fan Pages" so that some of your friends can acknowledge your product or topic and provide feedback without seeming like your friendship is intertwined with you topic/business. Bottom line, social networking sites can be fun and are full of "did you know..." gossip-like details. Social networking site's "news feeds" will pretty much (one-day) replace our local papers and who knows maybe even tv and radio live-media sources. Everything will just be online since news is shared faster (in live-time) this way and can be changed/updated in real-time. No make-up prep; hairdressers; cameramen; lighting; and all that jazz... heck maybe even our taxes will go down, yeh right?!...Was worth the mention, right?! Just remember - whatever you choose to do online, choose wisely. It's easy to forget the picture you posted of your friend in high school puking in the backyard [cause that was funny??] - only to find it 8 years later, re-posted online by someone else just when he/she is completing his/her Political Science degree. Think about it... What you think is funny, is it REALLY? Would you go out of your way, print this out and send it as a postcard to your friend in Australia, and would they actually laugh about it, really?! Be smart. Think twice. And remember, do onto others what you would want done to you. If you wouldn't want someone to share something about you, then by all means - don't share it about them. If you wish someone would have "minded-their own business", then mind your own too (or if you are really concerned, contact them directly - privately.) Social Networking - use at your own discretion....I think if you read some of the fine print, in the terms of agreement - somewhere - it states that you should have some common sense to use their product..., I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere...;-)

Drive Traffic to Your Website Using Social Networking

There are so many ways to drive traffic to your website that it can be overwhelming to the point that you don’t know were to start. Well I find it easier to break it down into two categories, There are ways to drive traffic to your site that are FREE and there are ways that you have to pay for. Both are very effective but it depends on what is in your wallet, especially if you are just starting out. So of course I would choose free first, the free method that I find very profitable is Social Networking.

A large number of internet users belong to at least one social network website.

When it comes to social networking, there are many people who think of online friendships or online relationships. While these types of relationships are the most common, did you know that social networking is also used for businesses? In fact, that was originally how it got started. If you are a small business owner, especially one that operates an online business, there is a way that you can use social networking sites to your advantage.

There are networking sites that are designed for business owners. These websites will not only allow you to share your business information with other business owners, but it will also allow you to develop close relationships with those that share an interest that is similar to yours. Essentially, this means that you could not only learn valuable business information, but you could also walk away with a new business partner or a new friend.

Social networking allows the smaller businesses to grow as they are able to reach a larger amount of people with using these network mediums at a lower cost. However, it also allows the bigger companies to take advantage of the social networking to extend to a larger volume of customers, as well.

Examples of this are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, this type of media has now increased to a volume of global social networks, which means that advertisement can extend to a broader range of customers because they are able to have multiple languages.

If you are using your online website to make money with advertising programs, such as affiliate programs or Google AdSense, you may need to approach social networking websites in a different way. Since you will not necessarily have a particular product or service to focus on, you will need to approach these websites as if they were personal websites. If your website discusses being a cat owner, it would be a good idea to state your love for cats in your profile. After doing so, it would be acceptable and not necessarily considered spam to add a link to your online website. As with all other types of online websites, social networking websites should help to increase the number of page views your website receives. In most cases, more page views mean more clicks which means more money for you.

Social Networking only works if people are drawn to it. So depending on what topic or niche that you are trying to promote on the social networks is going to depend on whether it’s a hot topic at that particular time. The goals that you are trying to accomplish are: an increase in link-ability, easy book marking, mash-up, inbound links, and helping content travel.

Rule of thumb is you want to make sure that you participate with your users, you want to be active on blogs and the message boards. know your target audience. You need to know what appeals to a particular group of people. It is important to remember that not everybody will love you.

I mentioned mash-up earlier, for those who never heard of the term or you don’t really know what it means, it is to combine content from more than one source into one experience. A mashup can be used to gather feedback on a project your working on whether it’s a website, blog or an article.

Social networking websites are also popular because they come in a lot of different formats. Websites like Yahoo! 360 and MySpace focus on a wide variety of different topics. This means that just about anyone can join. However, there are other social networking sites out there that have a particular focus. These focuses may be on a particular religion, political following, or hobby. Most specialty social networking sites restrict the individuals that can participate in their network; thus, making your experience more enjoyable.

Social networking websites can benefit all website owners, especially those who are looking to make a profit with their websites. This can be done one of two ways, by selling something or by relying on revenue from advertising. If you have a website that is selling products or services, you might find it easier to use social networking sites to your advantage. This is because, if you wish, you could do product or service spotlights. You could also showcase one of the products or services that your website sells. This could either be done right on your profile page or on a blog page, which is provided by most social networking websites.

As you can easily see, there are a number of different ways that you can promote your online website, no matter what type of website you have or what you use it for. By keeping the above mentioned points in mind, you should be able to see an increase in your page views, in no time at all.

Paulette Hill

Teaching others about Affiliate Marketing

Making Money Online is Easy

5 Simple Steps To Organizing Your Social Networking

1. Decide on a personal goal of social networking – Why participate?

Social media is an online conversation. This is the “new word of mouth” – conversations that have already occurred offline now online. “Ecosystem type viral” viral community is the key word here, as if a subject is provocative / somewhat Interestingly, it can spread online like the rumors in a small town – that’s what we call digital interaction You’ve probably all heard of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Flickr, YouTube and so true, and if no… Where have you been in the office.? area of these communities allows us to interact with friends, catch up on the latest news, see who flies high, it really is not and have generally fun to interact online. As for marketing, they are all potential gold mines

But how can you really benefit my company? “I hear you ask….

or facilitate discussions between all stakeholders – direct connections

Consumers or objectives that have moved away from traditional media

OR provides insight on the behavior of connections and innovation

Or more profiles – will lead to organic growth in the standings between the search page

No Increase brand profile / reach

2. Choose your social networks – Twitter, Facebook, others?

It seems that everyone on the Internet is involved in the media these days. Can be as simple as logging on to Facebook to talk to an old friend or read a favorite celebrity on Twitter. You and anyone you know have made the Internet what it is today and the media and especially new forms of socialization. It has become an essential part of life. If you have a Facebook account but it also could be a recluse.

Just shy of living another life in this virtual world, interact with others on the web is very different than it is in real life. The intonation and body language has disappeared, and your list of favorite interests, quotes and photos are used instead to represent your personality.

Many social media sites have to offer more features than others. Things like a list of bands and movies to borrow some idea of your taste and style. The images and quotes are more likely to show more of your personality, be it social, shy, sarcastic, or narcissistic.

Some others, such as Twitter are limited in what they can offer. Few lines of text and occasionally Twitpic your fans may know something about your personality, but it can also bring them to distract you.

Just as your dress, or a way to bring people together or push away, a good custom twitter background you can express yourself and create a positive image on the Internet. You have a background?

If you do you might as well be a hermit with no personality whatsoever, who never said anything meaningful in high school. Is your background a little too colorful? You can give the impression that you’re a guy in-your-face of the person who is uncomfortable and not listen to others.

Use custom backgrounds Twitter allows you to create just straight personality type. You can find the right combination of colors and patterns to represent who you are or what type of person you want to appear to be.

3. Create a social networking strategy – Dos Credit Cards

A social network common pitfall that many beginners tend to do is sign up for a social place, and I think that’s all they do. We can not simply create an account on MySpace, Twitter, Digg, etc., and then sit and do nothing. A major effort needs to go to the best profile possible. The profile must be visible and professionals at a time. A good profile should include: a beautiful photo, details, blogs interesting and attractive surroundings. Not including these things can lead to pitfalls of social networking.

Another pitfall that many social networking tend to do is have their “About Me” profile missing somehow. This part of the profile should describe a society in an interesting, fun way. People do not want to be bored of their minds when they look at a profile, so small business owners need to add a touch of personality while describing the facts of their business on the Internet.

At the same time, however, profile page will not be a blatant sales page. The objective is social sites to socialize and meet new contacts. Maybe it’s the network most obvious social pitfall of all: do not socialize! Business owners can build online credibility through social networks. They can share thoughts, ideas, information and content with others.

Content is another important factor when it comes to the profile page. It is updated on a regular basis for comment and / or articles is a great social networking trap. Fresh content is to increase the profile of social media is often a means to maintain the credibility and professionalism. Online entrepreneurs need to add unique content daily, if possible, so that friends and acquaintances to come back more.

While it is important to fill out a profile with great content and a nice photo or two should not be exaggerated to the point where the profile is too long to load. A profile should not miss, but at the same time, there should be full of great information and graphics. This trap of social networks is very annoying, especially when the profiles are exaggerated to the point that crashes browsers!

4. Build your social network – to attract and actively looking for friends and supporters

Create new content

In addition, the driving force of the Internet, content is very important for social marketing. The content is not as facts or data content, but more about what is leading to a place in the universe of social media. Understand what is popular among the masses, can greatly help the creation of content. It is most effective 140-character Tweet general content, but much more effective Tweet 140 characters of content specific to their followers.

Encoding and Favorites

Bookmarking and tagging helps carry the word to media social network quickly and easily. This is an important part of social media networks. Although Facebook has now infamous brought this feature to a whole new level with their “Like” feature, Digg and StumbleUpon are popular among the other you need. Be sure to add good content and bookmark function tag for the bottom of your article or blog.

Reward those who encourage you

If you have a blog with a large following on Twitter are the chances of your fans would really like what you do and promote your blog on their social sites. Reward them by placing their contacts or recommend your website. You are not only help build backlinks for them. This way of reward, will ensure a more sustainable relationship with them.

They could also be people who want to publish content to your site or blog. I’m sure he must have seen retweets. Retweets are perfectly acceptable and can spread like a trail of information in social networks. You can do this on the labels. If I find something interesting on a label, which will surely re-label and will be distributed through the network of social media.

5. Be time-wise – use policies and tools to be the most effective time

Make a plan – What better way to save time as any to do to plan things. Begin to organize your social network, and you’ll see how it can be easy to handle messages and updates. Never leave anything to chance. And, last but not least, stick to your plan as possible.

Take advantage of online tools – You can organize your social media and online networking is always best to do good, and automation tools. You can save time and avoid spam and useless e-mails received by you and your inbox. It also allows you to control critical updates easier and faster. Today, there are several online tools that can be used for such purposes, free of charge. This is even more highly recommended for those that do business online.

Manage your time – if you make use of your time, you can actually have all the opportunity to update your online status, check with friends, respond to messages and just be plain, to socialize. It’s just a matter of minutes to make those count. If you think you do not have time before then sit down and see if you really not minutes, or if you just do not spend all good. And yet, stick to your plan as much as you can.

Know when to stop – yes, can be addictive social media, to learn how to draw boundaries between your virtual life and real world. You really do not need to be connected 24 / 7 has been updated. There is more to life than that. You can always be made of the latest developments via the Internet tools such as RSS feeds and other forms of automation.

5 Easy Steps to Develop a Social Network

So you want to develop a social networking website? That is Great! You have come to the right place to learn how to develop your own social network. The following article will assist you by creating the step by step process you should take to reach your goal.

But first, let me explain that there is much thought that must go into creating a social network before jumping into development mode. You MUST take the right steps to plan your path.

So You’re Ready To Get Started? Great! Let’s get started by getting the definition of what a social networking website really is.

An online social network is an online community of people who share interests and or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. A social network also provides a variety of ways for its users to interact with each other.

From reading the definition, we have come across the first few steps needed to begin.

Step 1) Selecting a Niche Topic for people to share their interests and activities. This is the first big decision and the first point everything can go wrong. Make sure you select a topic for your niche social network website that you are passionate about but that others are passionate about also.

Step 2) Determine the Functions You Want for your users to be able to interact with each other. Almost all social networks have the same set of features which are considered essential to qualify as a social networking service. This includes personal profiles, member comments, privacy settings, blogs, photo albums, groups, forums, uploading videos, applications, and widgets. There are many other functions that can be added and created for your specific social networking website. The sky is the limit on the types of functioning applications that can be built for social networks.

Step 3) Build Your Social Networking Community by choosing one of the three solutions by which you can make your own social network. The first two categories include “White Label” solutions which is software you can brand and integrate tightly into your existing domain or create from scratch. The final category is a custom social network that can be created from scratch or by customizing one of the first two solutions.

* Social Network Platforms

* Social Network Scripts

* Custom Social Network

Step 4) Creating Content is one of the first and most important things you must do once your social network has been setup. Content can be articles, posts, tools, videos, audio or links. You should first learn why and how to create unique, quality content. Many people rely on their visitors to create content, but this is unlikely to happen if there is nothing to draw them to the website in the first place. You must create the base content for your users to build upon. You should spend the first month or so with your website developing content. You want to keep in mind that the content you create should:

* Be informative and engaging.

* Accurately portray the mission of your website.

* Provide multiple ways for users to locate your content.

* Create plans to release a continues stream of content.

Step 5) Building traffic to your social network is the most important of all. If people don’t know your website exists, no matter how good your content, you won’t build an audience. It is content plus marketing which will build traffic to your website. Marketing via communication channels are what bring people to your website. The main reason the majority of websites fail is because of a lack of marketing. The following is a list of easy to use marketing tips, and the best part is, most of them are FREE.

* Network to bloggers

* Participation in other websites

* Create social media accounts

* Article submission

* Traditional online advertising such as purchasing ads

* SEO

How Social Networking Can Help You Get a Job

Social networking, while a huge component of life, is still a new environment in the grand scheme of things. The growth potential of each of these communities is incredible and that accounts for the hundreds of millions of dollars dumped into each of these social networking companies by investors year after year. However there is great debate over how social networking truly can be capitalized on other than as a community of like minded people.

One area though that social networking has quickly caught on is the area of recruiting. It did not take people, the social networking sites, employers or human resources departments long to realize that the same tools that job seekers had been using for years could be used by them to get information about prospective employees. In fact there has been no shortage of news stories on this phenomenon. What we want to take a look at today is how you as a job seeker can use this social networking to help you position yourself correctly so that prospective employers can find out what they need to about you. In doing this we will also look at how you can irrevocable hurt yourself in the search for a job through social networking.

Finally, we will delve into the jobs that are helped and hurt the most by this glut of information available through the different networks. Now, I want to go on record that I in no way believe that a person should have to censor themselves in any way. However, what we are looking at here is how you can position yourself for employers on the internet therefore we will be talking about things people should and shouldn’t do. If you as an individual wish to go forward with whatever, realize the greatest asset of social networking and the internet is that you can be who you want and present yourself the way you wish. Just realize with that right is the responsibilities and consequences that come with the decisions that each individual makes. With that in mind let us dig deeper into how you can start to improve your chances of getting that job you applied for with the help of your social networking network.

When I first started posting on the internet the free information this blog provides about personal branding and social networking I was questioned constantly about how it can affect and assist in finding and keeping a job but I wanted to research the topic more before I wrote an article on it. I wanted to know what employers were looking at online when scouting individual employees. This will help us when it comes to looking at how to position your network to be as effective as possible in helping you with your job search. The first place I went to was an article from Linda Roeder written on June 16th of this year.

This article states without a shadow of a doubt that companies are in a large way using social networking and the percentages are extremely high. Her numbers come from a poll released by Jumpstart Media, a company started by Digital Brand Expressions which is a search marketing consulting firm that helps Fortune 1000 companies with their digital branding. In the poll released June 9th of this year 75% of the hiring managers surveyed utilized LinkedIn, they stated that they used Facebook and 26% of them responded that they use Twitter. When further asked why, the managers responded that they were looking for the “professionalism of the person beyond the resume”.

This means to me that employers are depending on social networking to get a closer look at the person behind the professional protection often provided by a resume and cover letter. This could mean looking at the groups you belong to, the blogs you have RSS feeding into your profiles, how you are at presenting yourself through written, verbal or visual communication depending on how much multimedia is integrated into your site and simply put your pictures that are publicly available. This means that you truly want to paint a picture of professionalism, especially on LinkedIn, but also on Facebook and now on Twitter as well.

The question I get asked all the time is “How do I do this?” There are countless ways of doing this, but none of them are “easy” and all of them take diligence and work on your part to maintain. The first is to take a look at everything you have posted in each of your accounts and make sure that they are helpful to you professionally. This might mean taking some pictures down and storing them on your hard drive and backing them up in a different way. This could mean rewriting the bio that you have on your social networking accounts. It might mean changing the articles that you share with people through the mediums such as Twitter and of course it could mean not necessarily always giving your true emotions on your updates. All of these items help paint a picture of you as the individual and no matter what is in the cover letter or the resume, the information that is found in an account that is seen as “totally personal” will always be given more weight in an individual’s mind as “the true you”.

The next thing that a person will want to do after they have cleansed the accounts they have is frequently update the social networking and keep it active. The reason for this is not just so a company sees that you are a “dedicated and hard working” individual, but this also helps increase the relevancy of the sights that you have altered, and that will help you in the search engines. If this sounds daunting, there are companies and individuals that help people put together plans that can accomplish these goals and in some cases even help them maintain the accounts they have put together. This is what I do for a living when I am not writing and updating my blogs and accounts and many of my mentors and teachers are also involved in this area as well. Now hopefully you are not exhausted yet because this just the first steps in how you can use social networking to help you in a job search, and this is the most reactionary of all. In most cases this is preemptive work that you have done to make sure you are ready.

The next thing we have to look for in this area is how you can make what is called an irrevocably or almost unchangeable decision that can hurt you when it comes to your social networks. These areas are touched on in an article by Linda Roeder entitled “Your Website Can Affect Other Parts of Your Life” in this article she gives a list of items that can affect and in that list is losing your job and trouble with the law or media. In both of these cases you can do something that could make getting that job harder or in some cases impossible. The first one and this is more a problem with the current youth, is the posting of pictures of people at parties in compromising positions or “having too much fun”.

In some cases this is not done by the person themselves but by a third party that was taking pictures with a cell phone or digital camera and then posts the pictures to show how great a party or get together it is. Now with the tagging feature in Facebook and other great features that allow people to point out exactly who you are, you can end up with a not so great searchable image on Google or attached to your account when some searches for you when you apply for that next position. Another thing that can happen is that people post their information online and update it frequently enough creating plenty of relevance with the name then someone goes to Google your name and the first link that comes up is your Facebook or LinkedIn account. That is fine because you have managed that well and you are showing the right picture, but the next link down is a public records link of a problem you had with the law.

This problem could have been not a big deal but was put on the public record. Now there is your future employer looking right at it. Remember that companies rarely go directly to a social networking site and type in your name. They go to Google or a search engine and type in your name; so just managing one account if you have multiple is probably not going to work. The best way to get a picture of this is Google the name you use on your job applications and resumes and see what comes up, don’t just look at the links check the images as well. I draw your attention to news stories like Tiffany Shepherd and Michael Phelps. Yet, it is not always necessary to find a picture for social networking to have a completely horrid networking experience. This can be seen in many cases such as Kimberly Swann, 16, of Clacton fired because she posted her job was “boring” in her status update on Facebook or here in the United States of Dan Leone who used to work with the Philadelphia Eagles who wrote on his wall that the Eagles were “…retarded” and lost his job. So you can see now that there are things that you need to avoid at all costs so that you can keep your job or be in a position to get that job by not making one of these vital errors.

Now that you are armed with what companies are looking for and the preemptive steps you can take to make sure that you are positioned right for the job, and you have examples of the irrevocable and big no-no’s of the social networking world when it comes to getting or keeping your job, we are ready to touch on the final area and that is the proactive things you can do to help you achieve the position you desire. There are 10 proactive steps that you can take and we are going to give a short description of how to go about accomplishing each one.

1. Start learning more about the industry you wish to end up in. You can do this by finding articles and blog information. Looking at the companies in the field and reading about what they do and what they have in common. Look for the competitive advantages. This will allow you to be better informed with how your resume matches up to the positions you will be applying for.

2. Decide a clear career path. This is different than looking for a job. You need to look at not only where you are now, but where you want to be 3 years and even 5 years from now. Look at what the “expected” career path is in the industry you are interested in.

3. Update your resume regularly. This is not something that needs to be done daily or even monthly, but I would look at it at least quarterly and make sure that you are updating numbers in your current position. If you are out of a job, keep focused on the education, and remember you can never know too much about what you want to do. So if you are continuing to educate yourself let it be known.

4. Actively search out people who share the same interests as you. Don’t just sit back and say well if I cast a big enough net out there I am destined to get something. Be targeted toward the goal you have and get to know people out there in the industry. See what you have in common and find ways to talk with them.

5. Get involved with groups that allow you to show your knowledge. It does no good to be the smartest man in the world and sit at home all day and never do anything. You must share your knowledge with people. Groups on these social networking sites allow you to do that. Put questions out there to help extend your knowledge and of course when you see a question you have a solid answer for don’t hesitate to provide that answer.

6. Find recruiters and staffers that are specific to that industry. You might not be looking for a position that is staffed out by that exact firm or person, but you never know who they know. So make sure that you are not closing doors just because that individual might not be exactly the right one.

7. Be active in a positive way on the networks. This means don’t spam everybody all the time, but if you truly have something to share, put it out there and let people know about it. If it is truly topical and of good quality it will be recognized. If the content is consistently solid you might not have to work as long to get the position you desire.

8. Be specific when asked “What you are looking for”. I can’t begin to stress this enough. Never be modest in this answer by shrugging it off with something like, “well anything I am qualified for”. This shows a level of indecision and that can hurt you in the long run. Someone who shows they know what they want comes across as confident and organized.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask your entire network to help you in this quest. Simply put if you are not willing to let the people that care about you, be there for you, why are they there. This is a daunting task especially now in this economy where people are struggling to make ends meet and each person has more than one problem. It is easy to feel like you are piling on, but once again you never know who those people know and who can help you. Never make the assumption that “If they knew someone they would not be in this boat”.

10. Make looking for your career your job until you find your career. There is an old saying that “a house divided falls”. Well a person divided too much fails. So if you are keeping all the bills and parts of life in order as well as trying to make sure that you are looking for a position and then on top of that just dangling your feet in another area you will never make it. You must make a commitment and when you make that commitment stay with it.

With these ten steps, the reactive parts from above and avoiding the mistakes that can shut you down, you have a good starting point for making social networking a positive force in you finding the career you always wanted. This is not a complete guide in that there are other things that you can do that are outside social networking and those should not be forgotten nor will they be ignored. Right now however, let us take one step at a time and making sure that what you have online is in order can be a huge step in putting things in the right direction.

We started this paper and ended this paper looking at how social media can help you find a job. We looked at the ways to clean up the existing media you have and what the companies are looking for when they go online to see your social networking sites. We have touched on the things that can truly shut down a search or a career online before you even start and gave multiple examples of what those were, who they happened to and the articles so you can read about the stories and opinions. Finally we looked at the proactive steps that you can take to make sure that you are doing what needs to be done to be ready for the career you have chosen, the interviews that will come and the discussions you must and will have. We concentrated online specifically here because we wanted it to be manageable and not something so cumbersome that someone starting the process would feel they could ever finish.

We also concentrated on the online environment because it is the largest single environment any one person has complete access to. According to a video that I posted from the Google channel on YouTube, on June 17th called “Do You Know Where Things Are Going” in that video he states that the internet community if made into its own country would be the 3rd largest country in the world after China and India. Considering no one person can truly make use of the entire country with just one click except for the internet, this is the largest area one person can focus on. So why not make sure that this area is as complete as possible and as tight as possible. Good luck with your career search and job search.

Importance of Social Networks for Businesses

Introduction:
Companies after ever increasing the speed of utilization of internet and social networks by individuals decided to use social networks to become more and more popular in terms of their banding strategies, positioning, marketing activities, customers services and feedbacks, implementation of e-CRM and alike. People use social networks in order to communicate, share their ideas, and use the flow of information and other means of publishing information about themselves.

Although since 1990s, utilization of internet, many social networks and internet tools had emerged, it was not popular. Recently, through the development of social network in friendly atmosphere and with less complexity in terms of functioning for individuals, this service (social network service) has become part of people’s lives.

In terms of clarification of analysis on customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer relationship management and customer feedbacks, social networks play a pivotal role. As a result companies have tried to utilize Social network services in order to better serve customers and obtain other various objectives. Most companies recognized that social network sites (SNSs) like Napster, Facebook, and Twitter and so on are the best places to them in order to highlight their brand image through which they can increase their market share, and sustainability.

What is a Social Network?
It is considered as a platform through which social relations will be built among people and information sharing will be facilitated. Through social networks sites personal information and relationships can be shared and users can stay in touch.

Most of SNSs provide a personal page for posting, ability to search for friends and other issues like updating profile and personal data and have the ability to restrict and/or conceal the mentioned information by page owner from the eyes of public or specific people.

These Online facilities (SNSs) have improved the movements of individuals on online tasks, especially in the mentioned social networks for the purpose of maintaining friendships regardless of distance (geographical limitation). Not only that but also it enables people to find better jobs and partners.

Regarding the acceptance of these sites by people, companies have become interested to get involved in this process through which they can sell their products and services and better serve customer ‘s needs and wants and through analysis of consumer buying patterns and their feedbacks they can fine tune their decision making process as well as their strategies.

Below information reveals the fact that how rapidly number of social networks increase since 1997.

1997: SixDegrees.com

1998: —

1999: Asian Avenue, Live Journal, Black Planet

2000: LunarStorm (SNS relaunch), Migente

2001: Cyworld, Ryze

2002: Fotolog, Friendster, SkyBlog

2003: CouchSurfing, LinkedIn, MySpace, HI5, Tribe.net,

2004: Orkut, Dogster, Flicker, Facebook (Harward only), Mixi, Piczo, Hyves, Catster

2005: YouTube, Zanga, Yahoo.360, Facebook (Highschool networks), Bebo, Ning, Asian Avenue & BlackPlanet (relaunched)

2006 till now: QQ, Windows Live Space, Facebook (Corporate Networks), Twitter, MyChurch, and then Facebook (Everyone)

Many companies during previous decade as a result of increasing the use of these networks have decided to penetrate into SNSs in order to find the relevant information of people, elicit information and analyze them in order to make appropriate decision based on market moves; not only in terms of customers but also in terms of competitors and rules and regulations. They aim at finding useful information in order to do external (Scanning, monitoring, forecasting, assessing), and industry analysis (5 forces of porter) as well as competitor analysis.

Usefulness of Social Networks:

Considering SNSs as a marketing tool, they help companies to interact with customers and create online communities and pages,

Updating latest activity of companies, advertisements and providing customers with applications necessary or useful in order to increase the traffic of their page, blog or community,

Facilitate the process of being aware of the company, and promote ideas, products and services,

Skipping search engine optimizations rankings,

It helps to get feedback from customers and to better implement the concept o electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM) and to classify valuable customers in order to serve them with value creating activities,

Focus on market, global reach, limitless number of customers who can be served, to better segment the market and customers,

Enables different model of advertising such word of mouth, suggestions for specific group or niche and so on.

Fastest way to get information and finding opportunities,

Social Networking Sites and E-commerce Businesses:
Although other methods of communication exist, they are to some extent different comparing to SNSs. Social network is a place in which individuals become fan of a page, they see each other and based on their mutual interest they become capable of interacting with each other and make a community on their own.

The mentioned issue is the result of shifting the power through utilization of SNSs from company to consumers. More social networks get popular, the tougher is the implementation of business based on traditional procedures therefore; companies must consider market moves in this case. Besides, by digging up the information available on these networks identification of valuable customers would be easier and a business can serve its valuable customers much better in this regard.

Regarding the accessibility of individuals to internet, companies moved from Brick and Mortar to Click and Mortar or to virtual one which resulted in operational efficiency improvement as well as generating revenue.

As companies are moving toward the above mentioned issue (adaptation of EC), they utilize several strategies to achieve success. They used various strategies in business and corporate level to reduce costs of transaction, reducing delivery time, to better serve the customers and to better manage them, and to better inform them about the current activities performing by the business especially for service companies. Accordingly, due to massive passion of individuals in case of using social networks like Facebook, twitter and so on, companies decided to reduce the gap between themselves and consumers by following consumers passion therefore, they started to make use of social networks and possibly other web 2.0 applications on extend their businesses.

In this era, almost all companies have websites and among them, some have social network to better communicate with customers which is linked to a website by the use of social plugins. Consequently, it is highly suggested to businesses that if they are not being first mover in Social networks, at least do never miss the chance of being late mover.

Impact of Social Networks on Marketing:
As it is mentioned above, individuals will be attracted to join famous social networks in order to create a profile and connect with existing members or pages or businesses. Once a profile created, users can interact with each other; send invitation for others to join. By the time a link shaped, communication to a friend, group members become easy because users tend to organize themselves by affinity, life stage, and psychographics which would be an excellent chance for targeted marketing.

Impact of Social Networks on Purchase Intention:
Through the use of social network as mentioned before members share their ideas, they may talk about different thing even including the recent product they bought or a particular type of service given to them or offered by a company. Many people around the world believe in talking to other consumers in order to get the required information before purchasing for a good or service (a matter of trust factor-word of mouth). And nowadays consumers due to availability of information on the internet they prefer to search online and when going online they more like to go to social networks in order to find more information from other customers, and what have been shared on social network pages of a particular company about certain type of good or service.

Form the eyes of marketers the information shared is vital for companies regarding the fact that information shared are the real facts mentioning by customers/consumers, and friends or fans of a particular group may rely or trust on other people (or fans) when saying facts.

In terms of marketing, in social networks various marketing aspects can be covered.

Word of mouth,
Market research,
Market segmentation,
General marketing,
Communication between customers as well as employees,
Public relations,
Customer service
Management of reputation and brand positioning,

Marketers use network marketing because of its various benefits which some of them are:

Product increase and brand awareness,

Being online helps companies to increase the awareness of their products and services especially through social networks sites.

By every interaction, marketers try to indirectly lead members or fans to follow the news of companies and everything and remember the brand and website.

Increase the traffic,

All companies try to increase the traffic of their websites by using various methods like communicating, recommending and postings on SNSs followed by a link in order to guide a fan or member to the official website and let them know their available products and services.

Improve search engine optimization (SEO),

In order to increase the popularity of a website companies need to share more links everywhere so that search engines find the contents follows by link easily. In this case people will read more of the content a company shared. Social media must be part of search engine optimization strategy.

It is worth mentioning that the value of finding content on SNSs is very much because they appear natural to search engines.

Increase loyalty of customers,

Brand loyalty will be achieved when a company can promote its services or products via social networks. By releasing true valuable content, trust go up and reputation of company increases.

In the process of using social media customers feel that they are participants rather than being only a user. If they feel they are participant they will be more involved and as a result of customer involvement and value creating activities of company customer loyalty increases.

Increase the success rate of lunching new good,

Regarding the fact that flow of information is very high in SNSs, understanding customer needs and want become easier which can be considered as a unique opportunity of social networks. Accordingly, companies can serve customers better by lunching goods appropriate to the tastes of consumers and manage product development process in order to increase customer loyalty and retention.

Impact of Social Networks on Sales:
SNSs are helpful in case of acquiring more benefit and possibly increase market share in competitive market. Through the utilization of social networks companies will find new method to serve customers better based on their expectations and their needs, to find customers, communicate with them and understand them in order to acquire new customers and also to retain the existing one.

Although it is a good opportunity, in some organization still a vague attitude toward utilization of social networks exists. Through social networks a salesperson can achieve benefit of having access to profiles before the commencement of communication.

SNSs and e-commerce businesses have made the world very small because they have eliminated the geographical limitations as a barrier for marketing and sales and by going online, they reduced the number of intermediaries therefore; firms may sell more and achieve more profit.

To exemplify, Facebook has millions users and many of them are over 18years old and its traffic is high. Therefore Facebook can be a very good place to do promotional, customer centric activities in order to increase sales. Also lots of pages exists that users are involved in. Sales persons and marketers can analyze the insights of the pages. Every page reveals information about daily, weekly and monthly active users, demographic information, daily feedbacks and so on which can be used to analyze the customer behavior pattern and customer relationship management which ultimately results in increase in sales.

Consequently, through penetrating into social networks, businesses have an access to vast majority of consumers. So creating account in social networks and joining groups leads to expand contacts and increase sales.

Impact of Social Networks on Services:
Individuals using social networks are increasing day by day. So the rate of communication among them increases. These communications can be about social stuff or about a product or service they purchased. These communications among individuals can be considered as an opportunity and also a challenge for customer service departments. Customers mainly like to receive a service based on their preferred channels. Because customers reveal their opinion widely if they are not pleased which result in detrimental impact on a firm’s product or service.

Through social networks companies receive feedbacks from customers which lead them to improve the quality of services/products as well as finding the best opportunity based on customer’s needs and wants. Therefore customer service channels like Facebook, twitter and alike can be used as a tool for performing value creating activities.

It is worth mentioning that through SNSs many problems between customers and company can be solved on the spot and it would be easier to reduce cost of services.

In this case some social networking accelerator tools exist like (Microsoft Dynamics CRM) to better manage, handle and monitor customers. These tools perform activities like:

Monitoring SNSs for branding issues and keywords,
Tracking customers,

SNSs also provide efficient multi-channel service which leads to reduce customer service calls and direct contacts and costs related issues.

Some social network accelerators help to better analyze customer’s feedback and to track the feedbacks easily. Not only that but also to monitor their activities and participating in communities to identify customers service pattern and trend.

Conclusion:
Regarding all the above mentioned issues and facts, social networks can be an excellent driver for a business in so many terms whether the company is click and mortar or virtual. By having access to social networks communication with customers will be easier, companies can focus on marketing aspects as well as sales improvement by utilization of customer relationship management and public relation management. Due to intense rivalry in existing global market, it can be considered as a core competency in order to achieve competitive advantage against rivals which leads to increase in sustainability, profitability and maintaining market share.

How to Get the Most From Your Social Network

Do we jump on the Social Networking Bandwagon because we do not want to miss the movement, or are we methodically looking at integrating this new avenue into our overall marketing plan?

I get excited when I hear about a new way to communicate with my customer base. There is nothing more important than opening a dialogue with a customer as they can provide the critical information that is required to move a company’s product or service forward.

A customer is a very precious entity and more companies need to appreciate that along with their product or service that their customers’ information is one of the most important resources that they have. A company would not haphazardly change a design or distribute a product to an unknown channel, nor would they randomly promote their service in unknown markets. Yet, companies are jumping on the Social Network Bandwagon to communicate with their customer, but many do not have a plan of action, they are just excited to tell you that they are now embracing Social Networking. Companies are spending money to be on or a part of Social Networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr to communicate with a customer that they do not know, in a fashion that may not complement how their customer communicates. Thus, they run the risk of being disingenuous and losing touch with a very valuable resource.

Social Networks can be a very powerful ally, but like all marketing channels, just because it exists does not mean it is right for you.

So, if you are looking to jump onboard the Social Networking Bandwagon, what should you be looking for, how should you act, and what should you not do?

I have a very basic way to look at social networking that revolves around the word social, which I like to equate to interacting at a social event [party]. At a party if you want to be successful mingling with the other guests you have to listen to what other people are saying, you may try to get to know more about the people you are talking with so you have more information to keep the conversation flowing, you communicate in a sincere fashion, and lastly you do not want to dominate the conversation otherwise you may be talking to yourself by the end of the evening. In many social environments you typically run into the same people over and over again, so if you were successful in prior interactions then you will be a person they may seek out to talk with.

Another important point for the word social is that social networks are typically an informal gathering of people who may be interested in exchanging information or just socializing. This is the key component as to why social networks are successful for general consumer use, but have a hard time being accepted into the business environment. People access their social network of choice drawn in by a desire to participate in a special interest forum, to hear what someone at a unique event has to say or to view a video on a subject that they have an interest in. They are interested in actively or passively participating, but that is their choice and there is no hype or alternative motive to being a part of that social network. Thus, if you are a business, you are interjecting a business conversation either directly or indirectly into a social network, which can create a barrier for open communications, and communications is the reason you want to participate in a social network.

So, if you jump on the Social Networking Bandwagon without a plan on how you want to use a specific social network, you may end up pushing your message to the customer and not listening to what they are saying; you will not earn their trust. If you do not earn their trust then you cannot take the next steps with regards to opening a dialogue, which would preclude you from soliciting information about your product or service.

Important facts for a Company to consider when working the Social Network channels:

Be Yourself – There is nothing worse for a business to do then to create a false image on a social network and then to be found out.
Listen to What is Being Said, Do Not Dominate the Conversation – Remember this is a social network; people are participating by their own choice. You have to earn the right to participate; you should not drive the conversation.
Be Authentic, Do Not Be Transparent – These points tie into being yourself, being honest with your communications, and to be open to listen to all feedback and comments.
Be Selective on Which Social Networks to Participate In – If you are being yourself, if you are being authentic and not being transparent then it would be impossible to retain an active presence on every social network, but you do not need an active presence on every one. If one social network channel does not meet your expectations then draw up a plan to look at a different channel and learn from your time on the other channels.
Your Marketing Plan is Still the Controlling Force – You do not toss your marketing plan out the window when you engage a social network, in fact you should have factored the use of social networks into your overall marketing plan to ensure that you are working towards a common outcome with your customers. Social Networks are not a panacea; they are just another channel to communicate with your customer, so manage your expectations and your perceptions.
Social Networking is a Mindset – Social Networks are a tool that you use, but how you use that tool and what you get out of it will differentiate you from your competition.

As I stated, I get excited when I hear about new ways to engage a conversation with a customer, and the Social Networking tools provide some great avenues depending on how you will interact with your customers and where you may find them. When it comes to marketing in today’s economy, and especially with social networks, it starts with your customer and it will always end with your customer, so make sure you know your customer.

Social Networking is another avenue within your overall marketing plan. Thus, just like you proofread every media document, review product packaging, and analysis feedback regarding services, you need to be actively involved and have a plan for using social networks that complements your overall marketing strategy.