Debra Eckerling is a professional writer with expertise in feature articles, corporate communications, and writers’
workshops. Debra is the founder and leader of Write On!, a live – and online -writers support group, which focuses on goal-setting, productivity, and networking. Write On! Online has author Q&As twice a week, expert columns, and writing contests, as well as a monthly drawing for posting goals. There’s also a Facebook Page for networking, and sharing news, links, and information.
For more information, go to www.WriteOnOnline.com or www.WriteOnCorporate.com, or e-mail [email protected].
By Debra Eckerling
Experts of all ages are taking part and reaping the rewards of social networking. What’s stopping you from jumping in?
Having an online presence is essential to social and live networking. If you are an expert in your field, then you want to be the first person someone thinks of when they need a person who offers your services.
Connects you with people you know – whether they are long time friends or people you just met – as well as people you should know in your field
Drives traffic to your blog
Facilitates self-promotion through events, links, and information
The cost of social networking – unless you hire out – is your time. There are so many options for getting out there electronically, you could spend hours just looking for all of them. … days signing up for them. … and months and years keeping up with them. Thus, leaving no time to do any actual work, writing, etc., and defeating the purpose.
Sure, you could avoid social networking altogether, and hope this technology goes away – but please don’t hold your breath. It’s not going anywhere.
The smarter solution is to start somewhere, anywhere – start small, and keep your priorities in line.
If you are new to the social-networking playground, I recommend you start with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
LinkedIn is a business site – very often the people I meet at events only use LinkedIn
Post your resume, connect with former and current associates, and get colleague recommendations
Import your blog posts and your tweets (more on tweets later)
Start and join “groups,” post questions.
Facebookis a social networking site for personal and professional use
Find friends, co-workers, relatives
Share pictures and videos, links, and information
Join networks for hometown, current city, workplace, and school
Use your profile for personal connections
Create a group or page for your business, website, or books. Then you can send messages/updates, and create events for booksignings, appearances, releases, etc.
Twitteris a social networking site, perfect for those who are super-busy. You can get a lot of info out in just a bullet point.
Send posts – aka “tweets” – of up to 140 characters
Send updates when your blog is updated
Ask questions and send messages to your followers
Create and follow lists to filter information
Shorten your links, using a site like http://bit.ly/
Most social networking sites are relatively easy to set up (prompts walk you
through), and have functions where you can import your address book and find people with whom you are already connected.
Once you master these, there are loads of others you can check out, including You Tube, which is a must for those who post video.
Just beware: social networking can easily monopolize your time. A quick check of your friends updates after breakfast; next thing you know, it’s time for lunch.
Allow yourself a certain amount of time each day to devote to promotion using these channels. Make a schedule. Set a timer if you have to. If you are aware of how much time you spend, it will be easier to keep your social networking under control.
One more thing: Social networking is not a replacement for going to events and meeting people in real life. It’s a way to stay in touch with new connections you meet at mixers, lectures, etc. Use social networking responsibly – the rewards have no limits!