The Ten Commandments were put in place to benefit mankind. They act as a template to guide someone in bettering themselves and improve their daily interactions with those around them. With a little modification The Ten Commandments can be designed to meet the needs of anything. Take a look at social networking for example, any professional looking to enhance their career through social media needs to know the right way to approach and engage in this new form of networking. It can seem overwhelming and if done carelessly it could mean trouble.
The Ten Commandments for Professional Networking, like the original Ten Commandments, are guideline’s created to assist networkers in bettering their online interactions. By adhering to and applying the commandments in your daily professional networking outreach, you will be able to reap the multitudes of rewards social media can offer to you and your career.
1. Thou shall not bear false witness against one’s self or one’s network
In many ways social media relationships are a pantomime of your real life relationships. In real life the most successful and lasting relationships are those with which you are the most honest. If you want to be viewed as a straightforward professional you need to build a trustworthy reputation online. To do this you must always speak honestly, say what you believe or think is true and in return your reputation will follow.
2. Thou shall be versatile and give as much as one takes
To successfully network online you need to view it as a two way street. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are only efficient if you participate in the giving as well. If you spend all your time talking about yourself and asking for advice people will become bored and be less likely to connect with you. It is ok to throw in self promoting post or ask for career advice, just as long as you are offering up your insight to others as well. It’s called “social networking” for a reason.
3. Thou shall be a source for wisdom and cultivation
Provide value to your network. Take time and monitor the conversations going on within your networks, if there is something you can add make a point to join in the conversation and offer up a few words of wisdom. If there are specific topics you are skilled or well versed in, create a blog. Use this blog to provide your network with informative ways to do something or explain a solution to a common problem.
4. Thou shall be transparent and forthright in one’s daily activities
If you are using social networking as a way to enhance your career, don’t hide that. Be open and excepting of advice that may come your way. Allow your network to see the real you. Social media allows you to connect with others in your industry that are of a like mind and face the same battles you do. If you open your world to them you will receive the chance to combine your minds and share your knowledge. When overcoming challenges, two heads are better than one, so don’t be afraid to open yourself up.
5. Thou shall be tactful in all interactions with one’s network
There are so many tools offered up within the various avenues of social media. Facebook offers applications to add to your account, fan pages to join and groups to meet others. Twitter and LinkedIn have similar options. Before getting involved in groups, blogs, etc. think about how they will benefit you and your career. Do the same when you are connecting with people. Before you accept a friend request or send out a request think about how being connected to that person will benefit you and your career. Be patient and make all your connections count.
6. Thou shall be vigilant and aware of one’s actions
On social media every step you take every move you make someone is watching you. Steer away from posting drunken pictures or bad mouthing employers and peers. When you decided to take your life online you created a digital footprint of your actions. The path you leave behind has a significant impact on the future progression of your career. Watch what you publish online and track what is being said about you. It is important for you to create alerts that send you an email every time your name in mentioned on the internet or setup accounts with third party reputation management tools. Become familiar with the different privacy settings social media sites offer and set them up to protect your image.
7. Thou shall not be hasty in one’s communication and take time to make meaningful connections
Take your time and make your connections count. In social networking popularity isn’t based on how many people you follow or follow you back, it is based on interaction and connections with those you follow. Since your goal of using social media professionally should be to build beneficial partnerships and grow your career network, following 100 people an hour creates a detour to that goal. You don’t have to follow everyone that follows you, don’t feel ashamed to deny a friend request is you see no future benefits from that relationship.
8. Thou shall stay active and devoted to your networking
Update often, provide meaningful insight. This is the best way to stay in the hearts and minds of your networks. Spend time each day commenting on interesting blog post, twitter updates or engaging in conversations being held on forums and discussion boards.
9. Thou shall covet thy neighbor’s network connections and use them to build upon your own
One of the best places to find others that have the same goals and interests as you is to comb through the network of those you are already share a connection with. If you want to go about doing this right, it is best to ask your current connections to introduce you to them; this way you aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes.
10. Thou shall love thy network and respect their feelings
It is important to show respect to your network and the social media community. Remember a golden rule here “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If you disagree with something posted or someone’s opinion your first reaction might be to disagree and tell them why they are wrong. Take time to find out where they are coming from before you step in, who knows you might learn something new. Play it safe and just be nice.
About the Author : Tawny Labrum, VP Social Media Outreach| BINC – Professional Search / Software Marketplace