Online social networking is a fairly new game. Its rules aren’t 100% clear yet. But if you are like me, you spend a significant chunk of your day surfing the web, reading blogs and visiting social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Instead of looking at time spent on those websites as wasted, you might want to view it as time well spent networking.
If you own a business, the connections that you are creating and maintaining through online social networking will help you generate traffic, sales if you are selling products, and links back to your website.
If you are in the market for a new job, or could be at some future point, these contacts could help you land your dream job.
The following are five tips for making the most out of time spent on online social networking:
1. Personalize. Post a picture and use your profile page to tell others about you and your interests. When you are a person, and not just a link or a generic thumbnail, it is easier for people to relate to you and make contact.
2. Join groups. Groups are a great way to meet new people. Once you have joined a group, be active on that group: post and answer questions, upload photos where appropriate, and in general make yourself a visible part of the group.
3. Visit daily. It is a good idea to maintain a regular presence at the social networking websites you choose to join. You don’t need to spend more than a few minutes each day on each website in order to maintain visibility.
4. Be an extrovert. Regardless of your real-life personality, online social networks are not the places to be shy. Actively look for friends and contacts; extend contact invitations to as many quality people as possible. The larger your network is, the more opportunities it will generate, especially if you don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.
5. Be helpful. If you want others to help you, you should make yourself useful to others. When someone is being helpful, by linking to your site for example, find a way to reciprocate by linking back, by making a comment on their blog or by bookmarking their website in a social bookmarking site such as Stumbleupon.
Image credit: frankdasilva