In this day and age, being "plugged in" 24 hours a day requires little more than the acquisition of a smart phone and a few social networking mobile apps. With that said, it's very easy to get comfortable sharing every little detail of our lives in real time. But just because we have the capability to do this, should we? I would say that if you are serious about building a reputable professional reputation online, you probably shouldn't.
Now this doesn't mean that you aren't entitled to have a personal social life online (possibly an oxymoron), however, with many social networking companies making it easier for their apps to talk to each other (i.e. the recent marriage of Facebook and Instagram), I'm finding that people are connecting accounts that really shouldn't be connected, or at least not in the ways that necessarily make sense professionally. And believe me, I get it. Many of us have multiple social media accounts; and the thought of having to log-in to 3-5 separate accounts to share the same content is tedious. But sometimes we have to exercise a bit of common sense and really think about what we're hoping to accomplish before we start auto-linking accounts.
Over the next few posts, I'm going to explore some social media hook-ups that just should not happen unless a strategic plan has been put in place for connecting them. First up is Linkedin and foursquare.
While your friends and family may find it intriguing to know how many times a day you go to Starbucks and Chipotle, unless your business is in promoting local eateries, your contacts on Linkedin don't necessarily need to know that you just became the mayor of T.G.I. Fridays. I can't tell you how many times I've come across these kinds of updates in my activity feed on Linkedin from colleagues. To be frank, it looks spammy and if I continue to see this, it makes me reconsider keeping you as a connection.
Serious professionals are looking for valuable content to help them stay up on current issues within their field, or they're looking to make meaningful connections with other like-minded professionals and they don't have a lot of time to do it. They tend to be attracted to people who consistently post interesting and relevant content. So if you are trying to get noticed by potential employers or other colleagues in your field, and you absolutely must link the two social networks, here are a few tips for making it work in your favor.
Make a relevant connection. If you're into project management and you met up for dinner with friends to discuss planning a team project, perhaps you can note that in your check-in. Or if you are looking to break into the hospitality industry, you could comment constructively on the service and quality of food. The possibilities are endless, but the moral of the story is that whatever you share, make it meaningful.
Share responsibly. If you spent time at a gentleman's club or the neighborhood bar over the weekend, it's not really necessary to post this on Linkedin. Trust me, it won't make potential employers or colleagues want to take you seriously as an up and coming professional. No further explanation necessary.
Make foursquare work for you. Do you have Linkedin contacts on foursquare that you'd really like to connect with? Find out what restaurants they like and invite them to an informational interview at their favorite spot. You literally have tons of information about the people in your networks at your finger tips. Use it to your advantage.
Now, just to clarify, there's nothing wrong with linking your social media accounts, but at the end of the day, you really have to look at what makes sense and what's going to better enhance and promote your personal brand to your professional circles. Next time we'll talk about how you can make social media giants Facebook and Twitter make beautiful music together.
In the meantime, I want to hear from you. How are you using your foursquare and Linkedin connections to either attract potential clients/employers or grow your professional network?