Are you professionally networking online at your job? You may think you don’t have time to network during work; however, you may be missing out on opportunities to accelerate your research AND position yourself as an expert. In other words, online networking has two separate, basic approaches– learning (passive) and sharing (active).
It’s not that one is better than the other. Generally speaking, I think the nature of our jobs in construction accounting and management makes us more passive networkers. Let’s take a look at both.
Passive networking for research
Learn to use passive networking to your advantage for researching software issues that go beyond the basic how-to topics. Bookmark blogs, sign up for newsletters, “follow” subject matter experts (SMEs) on twitter, and join LinkedIn groups that are chock full of content that is germane to your role, industry, or expertise.
Sage has several communities that you can join, to pick your peers’ brains. Some of the most common, but useful:
Twitter is extremely useful for news bites, trending topics, and “#MotivationalMondays.” It may sound like nonsense, but if you want the pulse on what movers and shakers like Stephen Kelly and Marc Benioff are opining/endorsing/commenting on, twitter is your place.
Sage construction twitter accounts include:
Construction/accounting media tweeps worth following:
- @CMD_GroupLLC (formerly Reed Construction Data)
LinkedIn has scores of “groups” where you can post specific questions to users (or search posts), which you may not find in typical “help” documentation. Here are a few to start with:
Hints for building passive networking
Not sure where to start? It’s really easy if you “borrow” from your peers, coworkers, and best of all – your competition! Go to their profiles, whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, and see who they follow, and what network groups they belong to. You’ll easily identify with whom you naturally will want to associate.
While in Twitter, you can create “groups” and name them accordingly: friends, work, competitors, associations, etc. Just be sure to mark any groups “private” if you don’t want contacts to know how they’re sorted (especially competitors).
If you’re using Facebook professionally, look up your “likes” and their followers. Or, again, find a “target” and see who follows them, and like their pages.
Social media etiquette
Social media loves reciprocity, so you’ll be surprised how many new friends, likes, and followers you accrue. The general rule is, if they follow you, it’s polite to follow back – AT YOUR DISCRETION. There’s plenty of spammers and creepy bots, out there, so use common sense!
Active networking for identity branding
Here’s where “content marketing” is truly “King.” Again, this takes some time and discipline, as well as strategy. Using the top channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram in an integrated effort to share your expertise — should have a defined endgame.
Do you want to drive traffic to your website to sell products or services? Are you a subject matter expert (SME), perhaps looking for your next consulting gig (or position)? Are you aligned with a non-profit or cause for which you want to build awareness?
Do you want to simply build your company’s brand?
Whatever your purpose is, stay consistent. Comment on others’ contributions, share it, like it, repurpose it. Come up with original material, yet cite others’ work that supports your opinion.
Now, for the hard part
Ready for “advanced networking”? — Show up!
Expand your online networking with your physical presence. Attend meetings and events so that your networking peers put a face to the content. Meeting the “author” makes your online contributions so much easier to share. There’s something so satisfying about connecting with the person you admire online. It adds an exponential amount of power to sharing.
Here’s a list of networking groups that can change your professional life, whether you give a tweet or not. Start at the national level, and then drill down to your local chapter – and join!
- TUG — The Users Group for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100, and Sage Estimating
- CFMA — Construction Financial Management Association
- AGC – Associated General Contractors
- ABC — Associated Building Contractors
- ASA — American Subcontractors Association
Do you have any other tips or resources? Now is your chance to take the networking “active” plunge and add it to the comments below!
Editor’s note: This post is an expanded version of a blog that originally appeared on the Ledgerwood Associates blog. Special thanks to Joanie for sharing it with our readers.
About the Author
Joanie Hollabaugh is senior director of marketing for Ledgerwood Associates. As a 20-year marketing executive, she has helped SMBs in the software, construction, and technology industries succeed. Joanie specializes in identifying marketing gaps, lead generation, brand renewal, product launches, and identifying and penetrating new verticals. Her love for both process and creative direction make her equally effective in strategic planning as well as tactical deployment.