Get hitched, hook up, link in

Social networking is great isn’t it?

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Bebo, Naymz to name but a few of those sites that remind you of the time when you used to meet up with friends to have a drink because you had the energy rather than pretending to meet them in cyberspace.

When you visit these sites (go on, admit that you do) do you get sucked into them for much longer than you ever intended?

This is how I justify it to myself…

‘I’ll just go on and see if I have any new messages…’

Half an hour later…

‘I’ll just update my profile, because someone might remember me and want to hook up…’

An hour later…

‘Okay, so no-one does want to do business with me through Bebo… I’ll get on with some work!’

Yes, I admit it! I was sucked into the virtual world of social networking and diligently kept plodding away at it until the realisation struck me. It’s called Social Networking for a reason: it’s social!

But, in the background, I’ve also been working away on my LinkedIn connections. Now, it seems to me that LinkedIn is kind of Facebook, but for business. It’s taken a while, about nine months, in fact, but we are starting to get business directly from LinkedIn.

We update our profiles regularly, keep our contact information prominent, but, most importantly we continue to expand the number of connections we have and we let people know what we’re doing every week.

This has the effect of putting our name on the weekly email distributed by LinkedIn which outlines changes we make to everyone else in our network.

A couple of weeks ago we were contacted by someone we had worked with three years ago but who had moved to another a business in the interim period. And then it happened again at the weekend… this time the contact was from someone we worked with seven years ago!

Brilliant!

These people would never have been able to find us if we weren’t on LinkedIn and keeping our profiles up to date, making sure we were mentioned as often as possible in dispatches!

The lesson, I think, is this: keep social networking for social and business for business. But if you are going to use it, then make sure you work the system. It’ll take some time, but is ultimately worth it.

Or, at least, it has been for us.

Anyone else got any comments about business networking that works?

Or wants to link up with me… I need the friends, you see.

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