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September 2008: "Social Media Networking"

Have you noticed that many functions of our everyday life are on the Internet? Do you remember when answering machines were first introduced and how the general conversation about them was skeptical whether they would ever be used on a regular basis? We now have instant voice mail on the phones we carry around with us. So too, I imagine will the way of Social Media Networking.

Networking is vital in business. Unless you like a 'Mom n' Pop' business where you only choose clients in your immediate locale, it is important to get your name out there in the world by networking. Why not take advantage of the ability of the SMN sites to do this for you effortlessly? Besides the obvious of broadcasting your name and services for free, there is the added advantage of having a wonderful resource network in many realms of business willing to assist you in your business endeavors based on their desires to both become known as experts and to contribute. Several times I have written questions on areas of business or technology on one of my SMNs that have been answered by experts for which surely I would have been charged for the great advice I have received in a different situation. This has also provided ready sources for future needs if a quick answer has led me to want to look further for consultants in said area.

First, I strongly advise setting up a system such that you will be able to manage the input from your newly acquired SMN contacts. I set up an additional email account for my five (so far) SMN accounts. It goes into a mailbox separate from my business email account. I choose to schedule time on my active calendar to check and respond to the emails I receive without being overwhelmed by them.

Next, my SMN accounts are professionally written up with a business photo, professional information, business contact info, etc. There are many different fun and cute little games and things you can do out there on the sites however; my interest is to become known as a professional coach. Which brings me to my last recommendation; never do I accept invitations from anyone with a long list of women or to those who wish only to collect the most number of contacts. Additionally, when I am invited to be a part of another person's network, having scheduled my time appropriately, I peruse their contacts and professional information to determine whether or not I would like to be associated via that invitation. See you out in cyber world!

Patricia

Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach and Chief Empowerment Officer with Design Your Life Coaching