When you hear the word “networking” you tend to associate it with sales. Sales professionals need to constantly expand their pool of potential customers, leads and relevant contacts; so this is something that their job and career depends upon. We all know that one serial “networker.”  You know,  the guy that makes sure everyone has his card before he leaves the room, always seems to get a bit too close when introducing himself and insists on repeating your name several times so he can apply his name memory technique that he learned during one of his sales conferences. As annoying as these people may be, they realize that the more people you touch, the more influence you have and the more success they can achieve. Even though you may not be in sales, we are always “selling” ourselves. Whether you are seeking your next opportunity, going through the interview process or if you are a talent acquisition professional endeavoring to build a strong working relationship with the client, you are still endeavoring to convince someone of what you bring to the table.

The use of social media has changed the way we are able to network. No longer is it limited to the monthly mixer with undesirable pastries and fruit platters. Networking has evolved into a sophisticated virtual world. It is not just organizations that are branding themselves, we as individuals are branding ourselves. Through images and phrases on outlets like Instagram and Pinterest, to digital resumes and business cards on LinkedIn, we are reaching thousands daily. With one post, you can advertise your professional expertise, the new job opening or the event you are planning to a targeted audience. Social media allows you to network to an exclusive group of people by interacting with those in particular groups like on LinkedIn, to reaching a large general audience at once on outlets such as Twitter.

Utilizing social media to network has created a non-obtrusive way to reach people because your virtual audience chooses whether or not to view or hear the communication you are sending out. Every professional could benefit from using social media. Whether you are looking for relevant information pertaining to your job or career or whether you have services, a product or communications that you desire to share; the use of social media maximizes your networking efforts.  So the next time you bump into the “serial networker,” appreciate his hustle and ask him to connect on LinkedIn or if you like his tie, Instagram.

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