Finding Your Next Job Using Digital Marketing, Part 6: Networking Principles

Once upon a time, a very long time ago in Internet years, I wrote a webinar and publication on finding your next job with social media. I stumbled over it recently while cleaning up one of my archives. While lots of the individual pieces are badly out of date, the work as a whole is still relevant. This series is a new version of the old stuff, modernized for today.

Networking Principles

In the last post, we examined the 5C’s of effective networking. Today, we’ll dig into 3 concepts that will make your community and professional networking efforts more impactful:

  • Metcalfe’s Law
  • Social synchronization
  • Network capture

Metcalfe’s Law

Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and modern computer networks, created a law in the early days of computer networking. Metcalfe’s Law states that the value of a network is proportional to the number of people squared in the network.

metcalfeslaw.png

Think about this from the perspective of modern social networking. A network with one user isn’t a network at all. Social networking services have lived or died based on their number of users.

As it is for social networks at large, so it is for our personal networks. When we build our networks, one of the best ways to provide value first is to connect people within our network to each other. A small personal network means limited opportunities for points on the network to connect. A large personal network means multiple opportunities for points on the network to connect.

Every connection we help to make, every opportunity we broker strengthens our personal brand, our professional presence. Thus, it’s to our advantage to build networks to be larger rather than smaller. All other things being equal, choose to connect with others by default, then work to create connections and bridges between nodes in your network. Introduce people. Get to know the people in your network and who needs what.

Social Synchronization

A fundamental truth we often ignore in business and online networking is that networks are not the same. The people who follow you on Twitter may not be the same people who follow you on LinkedIn. The people who read your blog may not be the same people who read your email newsletter.

From time to time, remind people that you’re active on other platforms. Perform what I call a “social synchronization” and highlight the networks you’re active on, especially if you have larger networks on Twitter or Facebook than LinkedIn, which is still regarded as the top business networking social medium.

Here’s an example of a Tweet I recently sent which accomplishes this:

twittersync.png

Network Capture

The third fundamental principle of modern networking is that you don’t own your networks. Your Facebook Page? Your Twitter handle? Your LinkedIn profile? You don’t own these things. You rent them. One of the reasons I encourage people to connect with me on LinkedIn is that it’s one of the only networks which allows me to download my connections, the basic connection details – including email address – of the people in my network.

From time to time, as you synchronize your social networks, use LinkedIn’s download feature to snag your network and archive it on your hard drive. Take the time to personally introduce yourself by email to each person – not with a mass mail, but with an actual personal email. You might be surprised at the results.

Next: Easy Wins in Proactive Outreach

In the next post, we’ll walk through some easy wins for prospecting, for reaching out to people to build your network or actively look for work.


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How to build a personal theater with PVC

I have a nearly irrational love of PVC piping. PVC is incredibly versatile stuff: strong, durable, flexible, resistant to breaking down. True, it does break down over time, but that timeframe is roughly 140 years, longer than our operational lifetimes.

Over the years I’ve made instructions for how to build camera stabilizers, strawberry towers, and stop motion photography setups. Today, let’s build a personal theater.

A personal theater is something I saw last year, a trend in China in which people were cutting holes in cardboard boxes and mounting tablets in them, then placing those cardboard boxes over their heads and shoulders to create a personal theater-like environment. You simply lay down on a flat surface and watch, hands-free, in your own theater.

I tried out the original version and didn’t like it for a couple reasons:

  • The cardboard enclosure feels claustrophobic, not like the openness of a theater
  • The cardboard enclosure gets really warm, which is not ideal during the summer
  • The cardboard version also has no way to hold onto the tablet, so if you sneeze or move suddenly, you get a tablet in the face

How do we solve for these design problems? PVC!

I adapted the PVC frame from the stop motion rig, shortening the frame to be just slightly larger than my tablet. To mount the tablet without causing any harm to the surface, I grabbed two large, heavy rubber bands and stretched them over the corner joints:

PVC Personal Theater

With headphones, just slot the tablet into the rubber bands. They’ll hold it suspended and provide enough surface friction to keep it in place.

PVC Personal Theater

The one design consideration is focal length. If you wear glasses for distance, experiment with the distance the tablet needs to be away from your eyes so you can focus correctly either with or without corrective lenses. If you get this wrong, you’ll earn an eyestrain-induced headache. Measure first, then cut the length of PVC for the legs of the frame to that length plus an inch/two centimeters. (depending on the weight of your tablet, it may sit an inch lower in the frame.)

With this personal theater design, air flow is not a problem, nor is claustrophobia. The only downside with this design is if you need the room-darkening effects of the cardboard box and turning off the lights isn’t an option. If so, grab a sheet of velour cloth or other light-blocking cloth (an old light-blocking curtain would be a great choice) and drape it over the frame once you’re inside it.

Enjoy!


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Finding Your Next Job Using Digital Marketing, Part 5: Building Your Network

Once upon a time, a very long time ago in Internet years, I wrote a webinar and publication on finding your next job with social media. I stumbled over it recently while cleaning up one of my archives. While lots of the individual pieces are badly out of date, the work as a whole is still relevant. This series is a new version of the old stuff, modernized for today.

Building Your Network

Serendipity is like hope: it’s a wonderful gift and we should never spurn it. However, it’s a terrible strategy. Building these digital assets isn’t enough. “Build it and they will come” hasn’t worked in years, if ever. We must be proactive in building our network, attracting people to us.

Build Before You Need It

The absolute worst time to build your professional network is when you desperately need it. Why? It’s very difficult during times of need to channel what’s known as Giver’s Gain.

In normal times, we engage in Giver’s Gain, providing value to our networks first without asking anything in return. We create, we share, we amplify, we connect. Later on, when we do have a need, we can simply ask and the social debts we’ve created in our favor often reap swift results.

When we’re actively hunting for work, human nature and psychology changes us. We ask with an expectation of receiving immediately, and that changes our language, how we interact with others. Network before you need it, if possible.

How to Build Your Network

Professional networking is about creating community, and community is composed of five building blocks, the 5Cs:

definition of community.png

Caring

When we interact with others, we have to legitimately care about them. We can’t just feed random social media posts into scheduling software and walk away.

  • Caring means interacting with the people you connect with.
  • Caring means you put your community’s interests ahead of your own.
  • Caring means you think of how your networking will benefit others.

Caring follows a sort of golden rule: if you don’t care about others, you give others no reason to care about you.

Commonality

If we’re to successfully build our network, we shouldn’t proactively reach out to people who don’t share some kind of common ground with us. In professional network, that typically revolves around our work – the industry we work in, the role we perform, etc. Find your tribe, the people who you share common ground with.

Here’s a practical example: in Twitter search, type a job title in your profession. Below, I’ve entered CMO:

findingtwittertitles.png

These are people I’d want to connect with, and in many cases I’ve reached out.

Connection

The third building block is connection, reaching out to people you want to connect with. Caring and commonality are prerequisites if you want to reach out and be received well. The worst sentence in all of professional network is probably…

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

I’ve seen that sentence thousands of times in my years on LinkedIn. It’s the default text in the invitation to connect. That sentence showcases that you don’t care and you haven’t a clue what common ground we share.

Follow people who are relevant to your work, as I showed in the example above. Connect with 5, 10, 25 people a day – but do so thoughtfully, with caring and connection.

Content

The fourth building block is content. When people connect with us, they’ll often look to see what we share. Who are you, and what are you about? We make these judgements based on the content others share, so it’s reasonable to assume others do so. What do you share? How much do you share?

While I would never turn over my social media accounts entirely to machines, I do believe in using scheduling software to create a frame, a scaffolding of discussion starters. I share 5 interesting things I’ve read every day using software from Buffer.

As with connection, caring and commonality dictate what I share. If I didn’t care about my community, I would just share the fastest stuff I could find, regardless of quality. If I had no common ground with my community, I’d share irrelevant stuff. Instead, I share things my community relates to – marketing, analytics, a bit of entertainment, and curious content.

Conversation

The final building block is conversation. If we’ve done the previous steps well – caring about our community, finding common ground, connecting with relevant people, sharing great content – inevitably others will talk to us. We can’t ignore them. We shouldn’t ignore them. Invest time to respond, to participate in conversations, to join group chats and discussions. Conversation is an opportunity to learn what else your community cares about – and for the job seeker, it’s an opportunity to identify hiring needs (gently).

If you never participate in conversations, you’ll never find those opportunities.

Next: Community Concepts

In the next post, we’ll examine some common guidelines and practices for building our community based on the 5Cs, including Metcalfe’s Law, social synchronization, and capture.


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