We’ve all met that guy. Or at least we’ve run into him online, received messages from him, or seen his posts and updates in our feeds. And we all know how we feel about him. He’s a good guy, he’s just…how can we put it? Really, really annoying.
He’s probably smart and hardworking enough, but he’s so desperate, and he’s so single-minded in the pursuit of his own interests that we can’t help tuning him out. Providing him with a recommendation or connection doesn’t feel like helping a friend, exactly, since all communication with him is a one-way street. And as for becoming his fan, following his Twitter feed, “liking” his band, buying his albums, reading his self-published novel, or hiring him just to give him a break, forget about it. He’ll find someone else. He doesn’t need us. And in fact, he’s lucky we haven’t blocked him yet.
So what can you do to make sure you don’t become that guy? And if you already are that guy, how can you make a few adjustments that might make your networking efforts a little more effective? Keep these considerations in mind.
1. Relationships move in two directions, even online. So remember that your social media feeds aren’t just billboards; there are actual people on the other end reading the things you post and having real human thoughts and feelings about them—and about you. If every single post is about the jewelry you’re trying to sell or the job you’re trying to land, your readers will eventually stop listening.
2. Don’t plead. If you’re selling or pitching something, try to focus on how the product, service, or sale can help your reader, not just you. Try sending one private message at a time that says something like: “Hey Sally, I heard you’re planning on redoing your kitchen—congratulations! Just wanted to remind you that my contracting services include kitchen remodeling. Let me know if I can help!” This is more effective than a constant, relentless stream of general updates saying things like: “I need work! Please recommend me to your family and friends!”
3. Don’t force people to “like” your updates, pictures, business profile, or blog posts. And try not to become offended if you post a general message demanding more “likes” and you don’t get a heavy response.
4. Give as well as you get. If you want attention, offer attention. For every new job lead you cry out for, provide a potential job lead or contact to another friend who’s looking. For every “like” you request or event you promote for your own enterprise, like someone else’s enterprise, attend someone else’s event, or buy and praise someone else’s product.
5. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to become a “thought leader” in your area of interest. If you want others to read your blog and visit your webpage, read others people’s blogs and visit other people’s pages. Re-tweet and repost links to the blogs and articles you like. Add your own comments and thoughtful insights. Comment on the blogs themselves with praise, opinions, and intelligent, generous remarks.
Most important: Before you post, announce, demand, or trumpet your needs to the world, stop and think. If you saw a post like this appearing in your feed, would you take action? Or would you roll your eyes and move on? Nurture your friendships and receive and respond to communications as often as you transmit them. In the online world, as in real life, people tend to respect self-sufficiency, and we’re more likely to help those who help us and help each other.
LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Find LiveCareer on Youtube and visit LiveCareer’s Google+ page for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.
Image Credit: JD Hancock