Last week, I talked a little bit about why you should use social media, professionally. Today, I want to talk a little bit about how and some of my personal experience. Here’s a fairly compelling bit of information that I recently read on Groundswell: “In 2009, more than four out of five online Americans are active in either creating, participating in, or reading some form of social content at least once a month.” Even I was surprised by that statement; that’s a significant amount of people participating in social media! Check out the article for further analysis, it’s pretty revealing.Social Media Enhances the Professional Networking Experience In addition to networking with potential candidates, I’m also looking to network with other recruiters or subject-matter experts that can lend value and increase my business acumen. Social media turns the networking experience up several decibels! Here’s a perfect example. I posted (or tweeted in Twitter-speak) a question regarding a leading business software solutions company. Within minutes, I became connected with the principle coordinator of an upcoming technical conference from the software solutions company I was asking about. She provided me with very valuable information which I was able to utilize and piggyback onto additional resources. Additionally, one of our Intel managers that supports the software solutions package, also reached out to me and said he was available if I needed any questions answered. Had I not been orbiting the social media sphere, I may never have engaged with these knowledgeable and constructive professionals. These two examples made my research regarding a specific skill set area, much more targeted and robust. I was also pointed to join a couple of Facebook groups, which provided even more information that I was able to utilize. Each social media channel provides a unique facet to the networking experience. Population Misconception What’s ironic to me is the perception from people that have never really tried to tap into social media. They seem to have no desire to give it a chance because they believe that younger people predominantly utilize some social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. What a major misconception! It’s not at all what you may think. Take a look at some revealing statistics from “Boomers Social Media Stats-Rocking Out on Twitter, Facebook,AARP” Creating a Social Media Footprint Let’s fast-forward if you’re not already there. You’ve taken the time to check out some of the social media sites. You’ve even created profiles on a few of them, now what? Being actively engaged on the sites you’re now a part of is imperative for positive results. Think of it like the lottery slogan: “YOU HAVE TO PLAY TO WIN!” Utilizing social media for networking purposes is not just creating the profiles on the different sites, but actively engaging, inviting others to join your network (Linked In), requesting someone to be your friend (Facebook), following others that work where you do or have common interests as you (Twitter), post comments, update your profiles, blog a little. Most of all, HAVE FUN WITH IT! You don’t have to devote much time to it in order to see results. Signing in a time or two during your week or weekend on a couple of sites you have profiles on, won’t take very long. The best part of engaging on your social media channels is you can do it from anywhere, and there’s no formal business attire required!! I hope to see you out there. If this is brand new to you, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.