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Social Networking: Definition and Professional Use

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  • 0:01 Social Networking
  • 0:46 Social Networking Rules
  • 3:22 Social Networking Uses
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Social networking can be used to develop business relationships, connect with customers, find jobs and conduct niche marketing. There are many rules and uses of social networking that business people should be aware of in their daily work.

Social Networking

Overwhelmed Ophelia just graduated from college with a degree in business. She has been trying to find a good job to help her move out of her parents' house and into adulthood. The local library advertised a job counseling session, and Ophelia signed up right away.

Ophelia was so excited the day of the class, and she introduced herself to the librarian named Linda. Linda the librarian calmed Ophelia's job stress by noting that many people can't find work because they do not have good business connections. The librarian said that in her session, she would be explaining the importance of using social networking to find a job. Social networking is the ability to create a circle of business connections through the use of social media and traditional networking.

Social Networking Rules

Linda explained that there are five rules for using social networking correctly. The rules are as follows:

It is important to use the correct social media platform for business networking. Linda told Ophelia to focus on business networking sites, such as LinkedIn or Biznik, to form business connections. Business people do not want to use Facebook as their primary business social networking site. There are too many inappropriate posts and unprofessional happenings on the site.

Linda did recommend that Ophelia make sure that her Facebook profile is grandparent-proof, which means that there is nothing offensive on her page. Human resource managers and superiors will often check out sites, such as Facebook, to look for illegal or inappropriate activity. A person's entire social networking portfolio should be free from anything embarrassing or unprofessional. Items that could show a person's age, religion, political preference or sexual preference can also cause managers to not hire or fire someone.

Linda's second rule of social networking is to personalize invitations. In order for Ophelia to connect with people on business sites, she needs to send more than a generic invitation via email. She should remind the individual of where they met or conduct research on them so that she can speak to an accomplishment of theirs she admires.

Ophelia was very concerned about Linda's third rule of social networking. Linda told the group that they should ask for specific help when contacting an individual through business sites. For example, they could ask for a quick phone call to seek advice or even ask for the person to guest speak at a fundraiser. Ophelia felt that would be hard for her to accomplish. Linda suggested that she connect with people who had an entry-level job that Ophelia wanted herself. This way Ophelia could ask them for advice or an introduction to get the same job without her feeling intimidated.

Linda said that many people are obsessed with using only electronic means to communicate for business. Her fourth rule is to make sure that you network offline as well. She suggested joining chambers of commerce, attending alumni functions and even networking through hobbies and sports. Ophelia felt that she could talk to her gardening club and bowling league participants to see if anyone knew of a company hiring.

Her last piece of advice was to remain polite and always thank the business connection for their time. People are easily turned off with impolite or unprofessional social networking requests. Ophelia felt that she had a better understanding of how to start her social networking profile. She told Linda that she would return next week to learn about the different uses of social networking.

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