Digital Etiquette

Rules of the digital age are a bit elusive, so how best to navigate these changing waters? Let’s explore some options:

  • Professional Networking Sites: LinkedIn and similar sites should be about making positive impressions. Complete your profile, offering as much information as safely as possible and remaining relevant to potential job inquiries. Highlighting key accomplishments and providing recommendations offers great credibility. Also, be sure to request recommendations individually. Remain genuine in your endorsements and prioritize quality over quantity of contacts. Keep contacts personal and involved in your career. Be professional, quick-acting on requests, and take the time to remind a contact how he/she knows you. Paying attention to projects and offering advice or sharing information can be extremely appreciated and travel far in deepening professional relationships.

  • Social Networking Sites: Depending on the industry, social networking can be a useful way to develop new business relationships. Consider using a simple URL, i.e. “facebook.com/yournameofchoice.” Profile pictures are immediate first impressions, so make sure it’s clean, professional, and fun. Respect the Walls of Facebook, writing appropriate and industry-related posts. Stay away from “poking” as it can be interpreted as flirting, and ask before tagging someone in a picture. Resist the urge to turn private posts into office gossip. One “no” answer from a friend request is enough.

  • Twitter: Introduce yourself in your biography and keep it straightforward. Utilize tools like CoTweet, HootSuite, and TweetDeck that allow you to save searched terms to track your topics of interest. Use a natural tweeting voice and keep current with your posts, updating regularly. Consider retweeting other’s posts to build rapport with followers, incite discussion, and show people you’re not self-absorbed. Add substantial value to your posts, offering links to informative websites and other online resources. Publicly thank people who have shared your information. Keep posts light and open, while still respecting controversial topics and sensitive news. Don’t forget to link your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts to Twitter to gain more traction.

If you can’t decide with which of these sites to market yourself, ask these 5 questions:

  • What’s your primary goal? Do you want to connect with friends, business contacts, or both? Are you looking for a job, looking to relocate at the same company, build a professional reputation?

  • Which sites do the people you want to connect with use?  Respect the differing contexts of communication. Determine your audience and the style of communication they prefer.

  • What’s your strategy? Decide how much time you are willing to invest. Then choose specific tasks to implement your goals. i.e. follow 10 people on Twitter per month, spend 20 minutes networking on Facebook or LinkedIn each day, etc.

  • What can you offer that’s different from the others? If you’re well-versed in a particular topic, don’t be afraid to share that knowledge with links to relevant articles or videos.

  • How will you monitor your progress? Don’t get caught up on numbers, but instead focus on the value of your new relationships.