Stop the scroll. Take your social media with an entertainment focus to a social network that spurs your growth and development. Learn how to network with social media!
How To Network with Social Media
Wait, where did that hour just go? I did a double take at the clock on my bedside table. I had put my son to bed, sprawled out in my comfy chair and had been mindlessly scrolling social apps.
Social media can be a HUGE time suck. Like me, you may go in to quickly check your activity and suddenly an hour has passed. And no, this is not a post about “The Social Dilemma” (though I would highly recommend watching it ASAP).
We are WASTING huge amounts of time on social media. Rather than thinking intentionally about desired goals and strategy, it serves as another form of entertainment or outlet. A tiny hit of dopamine jolts us to life every time we open the app.
As a human race, we are relying on our phones for connection rather than truly cultivating relationships. The statistics are clear – increased social media use is causing a mental health crisis, leaving us more disconnected than ever.
But hold on… don’t delete all your apps yet. There is some wonderful good that can come from social apps. Especially in this “new normal” of COVID where networking events are either cancelled or modified to limit the number of attendees.
Think about how you can connect with people with similar AND diverse interests from all around the world. You have the power to grow your network as far as your keyboard can reach.
We need to make a paradigm shift – AWAY from social media being another form of entertainment.
How can we put the NETWORK back in Social Network?
Have a clear understanding of who you want to be in your close network
Everyone has heard the old adage from Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend your most time with.” And overwhelmingly, that is true.
I would argue that your social network usage can impact that influence. You are spending a lot of time with the people that you follow and actively engage with online.
We’ve all done it – you tend to “keep up” with the people that interest you most. For me, I gravitate towards female business owners, especially those with small children. I also tend to engage with individuals from the Southeastern region of the US and especially those living rurally. Why? Because I can identify closely with their day to day wins and challenges. I see myself in them.
Choosing to have a network of only “like” individuals may not serve for our growth.
Have you sat down and done a true audit of your network?
Are there people that you need to bring in closer and intentionally build relationships with? Do you need to diversify the voices that you are listening to? Are there individuals that you identify with that need to stay on the outer circle of influence? Are there people that you need to “demote” from your close circle to just acquaintances?
Social media is a great place to audit who you are intentionally investing your energy into, building relationships with, and if it is a mutually beneficial connection.
Go ahead, get OFF social
Let’s be real – sliding into someone’s DM’s is a very surface level way to get to know someone. Want to REALLY build a connection? I’m giving you permission… Schedule a coffee chat or other 1-1 meeting with someone to build a deeper relationship.
Personally, I set a monthly quota of how many people I will connect on a 1-1 basis, whether that be a video chat, phone call, or in person meeting. While this sounds legalistic, it is a good way to hold me accountable and make sure that I am going deeper in relationships.
Special note here – respect boundaries. There are people that are ultimately going to decline your request. They may be busy or have no interest in connecting – that is OK. I would encourage you to take the chance and ASK.
Connect around shared interests and career goals
Want to get to your goals faster? Build a network of people striving toward similar goals. There is a BIG BLUE ocean of clients and possibilities – stacking your network with like-minded people that may even be considered your “competition” makes for a strong support system. [Side bar— I truly don’t believe you have a competitor in the traditional sense of the term, and in the end, everyone is seeking the best client-practitioner fit.]
One easy hack to find those relationships? Searching through LinkedIn profiles and Facebook groups can help you discover like-minded people. If a post sparks your interest, check out who liked and commented. Does anyone strike you as someone worth adding to your network? Make sure to connect or follow.
Remember there is a REAL person behind the profile.
Social media can be depersonalizing. Remember, if you want to turn your social media into a social network, you have to recognize that there is an ACTUAL PERSON with goals, feelings, and aspirations behind the profile picture. Maybe you would make a great connection for them as well, or maybe not. The critical practice is the ongoing process of evaluating your network and reaching out to new connections.
Like any social interactions, relationships cultivated through your social network are opportunities to give and take, and ultimately, part of your growth journey.