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How to use social networking to succeed in business

Rich Hein | June 4, 2014
In the current business climate, networking is at the nexus of technology, the customer, and true innovation, and it's about time you put your heart and soul into it. In short, it's time to get on board with social or get left behind.

"Have a content strategy. Create content, share data, multimedia, photos, and engage in conversation with original content creators. Relevancy and frequency is the name of the game. Have a goal, be transparent, be conversational, be YOU, and get engaged," says McGarrity.

There are various outlets you can use but most experts agree that having your own branded site, especially in the technology world, is the best way to go.

Offline Networking

Social media is a great tool but it's important to remember that is not all done from behind a desk. That is only one of the fronts in the battle to remain relevant. Ultimately, nothing is better than meeting someone face to face. Our experts encourage you to get out there and start building your professional network in person.

"Networking online is great when you are looking for macro trends or just making high level connections. However, going offline and meeting face-to-face allows you go deeper with individuals. I look at online networking as 'casting a net' and offline (F2F) networking as 'spear fishing.' When you go wide, you get to see what others are talking about and what challenges they have, but when you are offline that is really when you get into the details," says Tushar Patel, Vice President of Marketing for Innotas, a company that specializes in IT Project and Portfolio Management Services.

Join Professional Organizations

Organizations like Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or CIO's own Executive Council offer yet another opportunity to connect with people within your particular industry or area of interest.

Local Workshops and Meetups

These types of get-togethers are great when you are familiarizing yourself with a new technology or learning about developmental and feature updates. In groups like Drinks on Tap, Meetup.com and other sites that promote real world networking, you'll find people there who spend their days in the trenches of whatever technology interests you. These situations also afford the opportunity to meet people with similar interests or goals. Talking to people at this level can help you avoid costly mistakes down the road.

"I prefer smaller environments like meetups, LinkedIn Groups, or local networking clubs. I actually think that networking outside of your industry is a great way to bring differentiation to your industry," says Patel. Attend senior-level workshops, classes or webinars, whatever it is that interests you or drives your passion. Get out there and continue learning and sharing.

Advance your Degree

Many people might not count going back to school as a networking opportunity, but they would be dead wrong according to our experts. "While I was working at Microsoft, I got my part-time MBA. While it was hard to balance the time, I was able to build some valuable relationships as part of that experience. You don't really have to do full graduate programs--you can go to a class at locally well-known places and you will always meet interesting people, either folks who come to give guest lectures or other professionals," says Goli.

 

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