You probably have a Facebook page, and maybe you tweet once in awhile. You likely have a Google+ account by default, if nothing else.
However, there are hundreds of other social networks out there, and you’d probably be better matched with one you haven’t even heard of. While it’s great to be on Facebook to share memes and photos with friends, it’s not likely that your social network is working for you at a professional level.
Depending on your field, you could be getting a much greater benefit out of your time spent online.
Maybe you’re a certified faery hunter and spend your off-time educating others about this phenomenon. Or you’re a web professional who’s looking to move into freelancing full-time.
Perhaps you’re an amateur athlete looking for more inspiration than what you can get with yet another Pinterest motivational board. No matter your industry or passion, why should you be missing out on the perfect online community for your needs and interests?
Finding the right pairing
Don’t go by popularity rankings alone, especially if you’re in a niche activity. This is all about quality, not quantity, although quantity certainly means a little something.
Before committing to filling out profiles, spend some time researching potential platforms and check them out in depth. A good platform will give you a sneak peek and make FAQs easy and clear so you don’t waste your time.
Ask others in your industry for recommendations and tips, because they might know something you don’t. What are the benefits of a particular platform, and how might it advance your career?
Are there any big industry names who currently use the platform, and if so, just how easy is it to connect with them on this site? How can you possibly make a positive contribution to this platform or its community?
Managing your time
No platform should be a sheer black hole for your time, and this includes becoming too addictive (which varies person to person) or requiring too much effort to sign up. The purpose of these platforms is to improve your life, so working with them shouldn’t start to feel like a second job.
With proper research to pinpoint the best potential matches for you and your interests, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
Also take time to assess that platforms aren’t working for you, and consider shutting down any accounts you no longer use. If they’re not benefiting you, if you feel worse after spending time on that site, then there’s really no reason you should still be using it.
Humans are creatures of habit, but that doesn’t mean unhealthy cycles can’t be broken. Stick with platforms that make you feel good and produce some clear benefit, and your career will get the boost it needs.
It’s too easy to get caught up, and jump on every bandwagon that’s trendy or seems as if it might remotely fit with your industry. However, this kind of over-excitement can lead to burnout, because you’re not able to give so many platforms the attention they need.
Instead, narrow your focus and set your sights on just those platforms that best match you, your needs, and your profession. You’ll not only get better results from networking, but also save time.