Networking for Social Networking

By Allyson Greenman, Marketing and Communications Manager for Aspen Advisors

I recently attended a power lunch hosted by the Northern Liberties chapter of the Women’s Power Network (WPN). The WPN is a network for female professionals in or around the Philadelphia area looking to expand their businesses. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming to me, the newcomer. Though at first nervous, I easily assimilated amongst the group and was able to have several one-on-one conversations where I could introduce my position at Aspen Advisors, and vice versa. The women were eager and interested to hear what Aspen is all about; I was able to give in-depth answers about some of our products and services.

Following introductions, we sat down for lunch and geared up for a fun, informative presentation on social networking from Sarah Grey (, a local copywriter, professional editor and resume guru. She gave a ton of helpful pointers on how to evolve a business through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Without listing them all, I’d like to share some that I found especially advantageous:

1. Do not mix business accounts with personal accounts. Sounds like a doozy, but it is important to have separate accounts for your business and your personal life. Potential clients should not have access to pictures of your weekend nights out, statuses about how much you dislike your co-workers, your political views (unless you work in politics), etc.

2. When promoting your business, do not spam your followers. Between work email, junk email, tweets and statuses, the last thing people want is to be bombarded by excessive business pitches. Chances are, if you have something worthwhile to say, it won’t need to be repeated.

3. Be in-the-know. Get to know your clientele and network accordingly. Get involved with what they like so you can relate to them on a higher level. They will notice and appreciate that you took the time to follow their interests.

4. Have fun (when it’s appropriate). Make your tweets/statuses fun for your followers. Not everything you tweet needs to be strictly business. Find similarities between your business and something in pop culture and illustrate that, for example. Remember tip #1 and don’t go too crazy.

5. Use correct grammar. I cannot stress this enough. If you know me, you know I am a HUGE stickler about spelling. No one’s perfect, but if you are writing something with 140 characters or less, please proofread it. It will take less than a minute and will mean the world to the integrity of your message. No one will take you seriously if you can’t spell, or do not know the different meanings of “their, “they’re” and “there”.

Obviously, there is a lot more to being a savvy social networker, but hopefully you can use these tips to your advantage. Make time for events where you can network face-to-face and channel your inner and outer “social networking” skills. It’s always good to meet new people in the business world.

Social Circles aren’t invented by Google – but they did capitalize

The new Google+ is on the rise. 20 million users already in what seems an overnight success in social media. A new social media platform to add to Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, assuming you are on one or more, not to mention the social interactions of Yelp, FourSquare, and so on.

What is Google+? Check out the web for more info, but its another social medium that has some of the same interactions as the others, but with a slight difference – you can separate your interactions by group – work ppl in one, family in another, buddies in a third, fantasy football contacts in a fourth, students in another, and so on. This allows you to think about what you are going to share or say, and then designate who you are going to share it with.

This way you can use a single platform to show how excited you are about your recent fantasy football acquisition without letting your boss know about it. Or share a great article on leadership practices without having your football buddies say “what..?”

Did Google+ invent this separation? NO. But a big pat on the back for creating a platform to leverage that.

Its not an unusual practice to use LinkedIn for professional, Facebook for personal, and Twitter for X. In fact, I have been doing that for some time, and I have been teaching that platform to students at NYU since MySpace was an actual space 🙂 The separation of your brand is critical to future jobs, your career, and even how people relate to you. To illustrate the point, I rarely post professional stuff on my personal FB page – I leave that to the Aspen Advisors FB fan page.

I do find it odd how I know things about people who I interface with professionally on FB. I know their children’s names, when they have babies, what their backyard looks like, and what they had for dinner. On LinkedIn, outside of the occasional person who wraps FourSquare or Twitter to their LI account, I don’t know ANY of that stuff.

And maybe that is what Google+ will really offer – an easy and clear way to separate the different facets of “your brand”. It will be interesting to see how Google+ allows you to integrate with other social media, and how people who have yet to break into social media will use the tool.

But the NYU professor’s lesson has been personified and aggregated (probably no thanks to me btw) – separate your circles, be deliberate in how you message to select audiences, and intake messaging by a specific mindset so you can process more effectively.

As for Google+, I declined my initial invitation. I am sure I will get another. I am so used to separating already 🙂 But if someone asked me and they were just getting started, I probably would tell them to check it out if they were invited.

Hey Twitter – you find me a job yet?

Social networking is here to stay – that’s not news. But its funny how I am not hearing how it is finding people jobs. I have not heard that much about it, and I am in the industry.

Stop. I know there are people finding jobs via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Recruiters – I know what you do for a living 🙂 Your job is to find people using all means necessary, whether you call someone on the phone or tweet them or FB them or whatever. You guys are doing an awesome job leveraging these tools.

I am referring to how people TALK about finding a job. When someone I know gets a job, I ask how did they find out, and they usually say “I found it on the web” or “my friend got me in” or something. But not as much “I found it on Facebook” or “I found it on Twitter”. Which I find interesting…

MEANWHILE…I keep hearing how friends and family are find dates on, eHarmony, J-Date or whatever.  What is wild is how people brag about finding their mate online. Their parents brag. Their siblings brag.

But why aren’t we bragging about our jobs the same way? Are we embarrassed? Is it considered weird to find your job that way? Many of the social aspects are the same.

I have a theory…people think and communicate differently professionally than they do personally. There is something about telling people about your professional experiences versus your personal experiences. Think about it – how often do you tell your parents about some meeting that you had at the office, conversely you tell everyone about how a meal you had at some restaurant was awesome. We post on FB our friends dancing, laughing, smiling and so on – but when was the last time you posted a pic from the office of a colleague…hmmm.

I don’t know if social media between professional and personal will converge completely for gen Y / gen X / baby boomers. I think the millenials will get it more. But we may need one more generation before work and play via technology completely merge and can’t be distinguished.

The trend may be  similar to how smartphones are perceived by teenagers. Every phone they have ever owned has texting, a camera, and the ability to facebook. I remember using a a car phone in the Cutlass Ciera wagon back in 93 and people rocking the Gordon Gecco phone in airports.

As you use these social networking tools to communicate – either as a recruiter or a candidate finding a job – realize that there is a difference between personal and professional communication strategies. If you find poeple on Twitter that does not mean their better, and finding a job on Twitter does not mean its weird. Assess people and jobs as you have in the past – we are still learning to communicate using these tools.