Networking, in person or online, is a challenge

By Cindy Macdonald

A well-developed personal brand is necessary in business today. It is vital to keep professionalism in mind at all times when posting digital content, because anyone can Google your name, at any time. When the person you’ve just met at an industry gathering looks you up, what will they find?

I have decided to pursue work in digital media as well as print, so I have expanded my self-description to be “editor and content creator.” This phrase now appears on my resume, my bio for Twitter and my LinkedIn profile.

Labelling my skills is the first step in developing my personal network online.

Having been in and out of the publishing field for a few years now, LinkedIn is one of the obvious tools for me to keep in touch with peers. I have 204 connections on LinkedIn and belong to six groups related to industries I’ve covered for various publications, one “magazine” group, and Editors Canada. The groups are resources that I have not yet mined, as I’ve been focused on working toward my social media certificate.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

One deterrent to participating in online groups, such as LinkedIn’s magazine group, is fear. I fear that any comments or posts I make would not contribute anything useful to the conversation. My specialty of trade magazines, particularly trade magazines in Canada, is a niche, and I worry that my experiences would be different than those of editors on other types of magazines. I’m uncertain my input would be valued since it applies to a rather narrow segment. When I’m looking for a job, I emphasize my many years of experience in magazines, but to actually put my own opinion out there is a little frightening.

The solution is to begin reading the posts of this group and read the responses. I’m sure there are threads and discussions to which I could contribute. I would plan to start small and pick my subjects carefully.

Social media also presents an opportunity to boost the work of friends and colleagues by engaging in conversation, perhaps contributing interesting questions to their posts or timelines. It’s a way of supporting their businesses or ventures and building a two-way relationship. Now that I’ve moved to a rural area, I intend to network with local businesses, to offer my expertise in communications and social media. To meet these businesspeople, I’m joining local Facebook groups, and hope to attend local business association or chamber of commerce meetings. Face-to-face meetings are difficult to implement right now, due to COVID-19 restrictions, so it is doubly important that my online personal brand shows that I am a knowledgeable, experienced editor of print and digital magazines, with up-to-date social media skills.

About me: After more than 25 years as an editor of trade publications, I’m now learning social media techniques. I’ll be writing about news, communication, social media and travel as I go through this career transition. Please join me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or my blog, and we’ll chat.

2 thoughts on “Networking, in person or online, is a challenge

  1. As someone with social anxiety, I have found that online networking is far easier and much less intimidating for me then in person networking.
    as for joining conversations, generally it’s best to just jump in. it’s better to have people with different experiences and expertise commenting on something and helping each other see something from every possible angle then it is to leave a few people with the same experiences and expertise sharing the same stagnant thought wile everyone else watches from the side lines.
    so be brave, add a comment, and see what you inspire.

  2. Excellent point about having people with different experiences chime in. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks for the encouragement.

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