Today branding isn’t just focused on spreading awareness about products on the market. In business vernacular, the concept is applied to people, and the focus is spreading awareness about your professional background. What’s often forgotten is how your character is reflected as a result, pushing the importance of taking responsibility for your online brand to the forefront. Much like a first impression made in person, the affects of online branding (intentional or otherwise) are long lasting, and can affect how prospective employers judge your suitability for a position or organization.
It’s for this reason that social networking sites like LinkedIn and Yammer are popular. And even though you may not leave comments on community boards or discuss articles with other readers online, you likely have an account, as well as a collection of contacts on more than one social media site.
But if networking – and that includes online social networking – is about building relationships, then consider :
What’s the point of using sites like LinkedIn if you don’t connect with your contacts?
You should make a point to connect with people at least twice each year. Otherwise, what’s the point of connecting? Consider your personal social media accounts like Facebook. We all have Facebook friends that we were once close with, but are now only connected through that site. But we keep them on because as I said, we were once close. Imagine how horrified you feel when one of those friends posts something inappropriate or rude, and extends beyond a joking tone. It’s awkward, and it can be disconcerting knowing that you’re connected with such a person.
Oftentimes people brag about editing their Facebook contact lists by purging those people they don`t actually connect with. If it`s common to take the time to edit lists of Facebook friends, then why not take the time to edit your professional social media connections?
If you’re not connecting with people on LinkedIn, they’re not your connections. The value in networking is building out relationships, not counting the number of connections you keep.
Remember, your contacts are a reflection of who you are, and from the perspective of branding, your contacts are a reflection of how you want to be perceived. So be responsible and keep in contact with professional social media connections or purge the ones you don’t actually communicate with.