The goal of networking on social media platforms is to build stronger relationships that yield results for both parties. Sometimes, those short 3 minute generic conversations at a networking event are not nearly enough. Even still, having a 30 minute coffee session with everyone is not a realistic option. If used correctly, Facebook can be one of the most powerful networking tools for young professionals. In some cases, it can be just as effective as LinkedIn in building professional relationships.
Leveraging Facebook Friends To Expand Your Professional Network
If you see a few people on Facebook who share with you 100 to 300 mutual friends, chances are you’ll both share some sort of common interest. Don’t just add that high school guy you never talked to, rather focus on Facebook people outside your city or even country who share many mutual friends with you. The more diverse your Facebook friends are, the more interesting your news feeds become. Meeting new people in real life is lots of fun and that great feeling lives on in the online world. I have made great connections both personally and professionally by taking the plunge and adding that intriguing person somewhere in Mexico, India etc.
To avoid being creepy, it’s important to include a message with the friend request which states your reason. “Hey, you’re cool” does not really cut it. Instead, try “Hey, my name is ____ and I read an article that recommended me to go outside my comfort zone and add interesting people on facebook which I have lots of mutual friends with. I am interested in finding out a bit more about your time at __ workplace and ___”. You should only try to add 3 people per month who share many mutual friends. “Overadding” can detract from your focus of actually getting to know these individuals you claim to be interested in.
Be the Connector
Every month, you should also scan your Facebook friend list and see how you can connect people who you believe would benefit from each other. It’s like setting up a blind date but in a completely professional context. You will be glad to have helped forge new relationships. Networking is not only about you, it’s about forging new bonds for everyone.
Still Feel Awkward Networking on Facebook?
Well you should consider Facebook to be a very large networking room, you want to say hello to like minded people. It’s awkward to attend a networking event and only talk with those you arrived with. That’s just weird. Just think of all the young professionals that are waiting to get to know you more.
Facebook is much more than sharing cat memes or creeping on your ex-boyfriend; it’s time for you to carry out the real vision of Mark Zuckerberg by making the world more connected through your personal effort to build stronger relationships while forging new ones. Mark has teared down the barriers and gave you a chance to connect with people you would have never had otherwise met. About 20% of the columnists that work for Mindthis contacted me first via Facebook. They don’t regret adding a stranger due to the amount of mutual friends, so neither should you.
Start expanding on your professional Facebook network today; add a mutual friend, get interested, bring professionals together, and start learning the real benefits Facebook has to offer.