In total there are 5 different mindsets that I can define and you will be most successful if you apply a perfect mix of all five.
Mindset 1 : Non-professional use
Almost 10% of all people on earth use Facebook. Recent numbers show 60% of Internet users in Belgium are using Facebook. Lots of people are using other networks too. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Netlog, Xing and Ecademy are the most popular networks in Belgium right now.
Those people who aren’t entrepreneurs or business owners probably use Social Media to share photos, connect to their family and friends, search for old school friends, organize a street BBQ and so on. Professional users will also engage in these activities with their family and friends.
This is what I would define as non-professional use. It does however take part in building your image and credibility. Do you share drunk pictures of a bachelor weekend or do you choose to share pictures of a trade show visit which could also be interesting for your job ?
You are the one who decides what people get to see when they visit your online profiles. And remember … You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Mindset 2 : Networking
Social Networking websites were originally designed to get in touch with people you know and connect to new interesting people. You can grow your network with minimum effort and get to know people through their online profiles, blogs, comments and other actions. Easy to use communication tools make it easy to start a conversation and get to know more people. Even for the most timid people the threshold is very low when using online networks. To boost the relationship it might still be needed to meet face to face, but this will be easier because you already had contact online. The first thresholds have disappeared
Mindset 3 : Building credibility
LinkedIn, Facebook and some other networks allow you to share links to interesting articles, blogs, video’s, … any possible content on the world wide web. By sharing content from your industry you will build credibility on your expertise. Even better is to write articles yourself on a blog and share those on your Social Media profiles. You will provide a mix of your own views together with expert advice from your industry leaders. People in your network will automatically link the topic of your choice to your name and refer people to you with any question or demand on that topic. I strongly believe that in your network you can grow to be an expert in your industry just by sharing high quality information and views on that topic.
Mindset 4 : Marketing
Mindset 5 : Peer support
Apply the right mix
The magic formula to be successful in networking is to find the perfect mix between these 5 mindsets. In the first 3 years, you only need to focus on a mix of the first 4 mindsets. Once you have established a quality network you will possibly want to add the fifth mindset to create a secure source for peer support. At the end you will need all 5 mindsets, but you have to be very careful to apply the right mix. Your story will become more interesting and people will be more attracted to you.
People will see you as a real person (1) who wants to grow his/her network (2), who is an expert in his/her industry (3), who has interesting products or services to offer (4) and who has surrounding him/her with other high quality networkers (5).