How to Better Network using Twitter and LinkedIn

Social media can be as much of a party as a networking source.  How do you settle the party down to a reasonable size, actually connecting with people you want to talk to? Half the battle is being able to sift through the nonsense. The following are 5 easy ways to identify and join into the right conversations with the right people for you and your professional interests.

1. Twitter Keyword Searches

Twitter is a huge source of information, yet it can also be one of the “noisiest” places on the web. A good way to find people, filter tweets and join a conversation is to search for keywords connected to the topics you are interested in. For example, if you work as a financial advisor, the most obvious place to start would be a keyword like “financial advisor.”

It seems simple, but this is not a perfect science, and it entails some trial and error to see which words get you the results you. Play around with different versions, and join the conversation when you find something of interest. Retweet people and give your feedback and comments. Did someone link out to an article and give her opinion? Let her know why you agree or disagree.

2. Join Appropriate LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups are excellent opportunities for career-related discussions. Members often share articles, ask questions, and start online conversations with each other. Do a quick group search on LinkedIn. You are likely to get a big list of niche groups within your field. That said, do your research and make sure that the group you are looking at is a good fit for your ambitions and interests before you request to join. If the group is open (vs. invite-only), take a quick look around at the discussions and members to get a feel for the content and makeup of the group and see if it’s a good fit.

3. Find the Authors of the Content You Read

Who are the social influences in your field? Identifying these people is useful in finding constructive conversations. The best places to start are the blogs and websites you read. Seek out the authors. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and take the time to let them know your opinions. Comment on their articles or blogs, status, or tweets. Giving a compliment with added insight on the topic goes a long way.

4. Become an Author Yourself

There isn’t better way to join the conversation in your field than by writing on the topic. You will have something to readily share and converse on your social networks, and have people in your field give comments and ideas.

5. Meet the People Who are Looking at You

In LinkedIn, your settings allow others to see who you are when you look at their profiles, so you should be able to see who’s looking at yours. Scan this weekly and check out who’s viewed your profile. Appropriately connect with these people. Why might they have taken the time to look at your profile. Are they in your field or community? Or possibly a recruiter? Reaching out to engage in conversation shows you’re relevant and open to creating new professional relationships.

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