Social Networking Gone Wrong — and How to Handle It

social networking gone wrong

Have you followed the networking tips that say to reach out to others for help with your job search or career, but all didn’t go so well? Here’s why it may have gone wrong.

Social networking can be tricky. In many cases, it can lead you to some helpful connections. But at other times, things just don’t work out as you’d hoped. The most common social networking disappointment occurs when you don’t get any response from people you target.

Remember, there are plenty of innocent reasons for online networking failures. But it’s also possible that you need to change your approach. Here are five common networking mishaps, along with tips for resetting the relationship.

1. You didn’t actually ask for a response

Did your social networking message clearly invite a response? Busy people may choose to respond only to very specific requests. Send a new message, and make sure you're not just “throwing information” at your new contact and that it’s clear you’re asking for help. If you feel like it's too soon to ask for favors, just ask for information. For example, you might ask whether your contact is going to be at a local networking event and would like to meet for coffee. Even if the answer is no, you’ve initiated an interaction. 

2. Your message was too long, too generic or too self-centered

If a message is too general, it can look like a communication that you send to everyone. And if it’s all about you, your new contact won’t necessarily feel engaged. Remember that you’re trying to connect with this person. So explain why you’ve chosen to get in touch. You might mention recent accomplishments or work they’ve done that inspired your request to connect. When you write a new message, make sure it’s concise and talks about them as much as you.

3. You're approaching the wrong person

Maybe you’ve misunderstood the role of the person you’re trying to contact. In your next message, ask them if they can put you in touch with the right person to help with your request. Or consider contacting someone else in the same professional or social circle, based on a little more research.

4. You’ve got networking anxiety

The networking tips out there suggest it’s an ideal time for you to reach out, but you don’t know what to write. Here’s one easy step you can take. The next time someone you want to connect with tweets something relevant, retweet his or her post and add something to it. This indirect approach can help you develop a social media relationship over time. And you'll eventually be more comfortable contacting them directly.

5. You reach a (seemingly) dead end

If your contact does respond but says he can’t help, keep up the conversation. Networking is about long-term relationships, not just hit-and-run requests for help. Be polite and thankful. In the future, you may run into that person at an event — or have something you can offer. The same applies when someone reaches out to you, and you can't help. 

Want more networking tips? Check out these blog posts on networking from OfficeTeam.

Tags: Networking