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High-Speed Connections

The Art of Networking Online

Online networking can be a bit tricky, so we loved these tips on how to really take advantage and properly navigate the digital scene. Here, we've highlighted our favorite sections from the piece; go to ELLE.com to read the rest. —Glo

By Carrie Sloan for ELLE

In the age of Facebook, online etiquette is anything but obvious. Here are clear-cut tips on whether to friend the boss, the right way to grow your network and how to use those connections to boost your bottom line:

Who, How Much, How Soon?

* Who hasn't hovered, finger over mouse, while pondering whether to accept a co-worker's friend request, add the boss, or accept an unsolicited testimonial? “Yes, yes, you should be Facebook friends with your boss,” says Dave Awl, author of Facebook Me! A Guide To Having Fun With Your Friends and Promoting Your Projects on Facebook. His rationale: “If and when the day arrives, it's hard to imagine a boss-employee relationship where clicking ‘ignore' would be the smart or political choice.”

Cleaning Up Your Online Act

* While your Facebook profile or Twitter feed might feel like a cozy little universe where you and your friends beam thoughts back and forth, the fact remains that the Internet is an insanely public forum. In fact, a recent survey indicated that one in seven recruiters had failed to hire someone based on a discovery made on that potential employee's Facebook or MySpace page.

* “Go back to your personal profile and look at what you've been posting,” says Michelle Gamble-Risley, co-author of Smash: A Smart Girl's Guide to Practical Marketing and PR. “If you've got table-dancing photos up, people are going to be doing research on you, and it doesn't look good … Even stuff that you consider harmless may not be — pictures of you out with your friends that are a little sexy or risqué, a toast when you're drinking. Replace it all with a personal head shot.”

Your New Contact-Making Mantra

* No matter which networking guru you ask, they all say the key to building your network is this Tweet-friendly refrain: Give, Give, Get. Karen Renzi, 34, executive director of sales and marketing for Beyondus breaks it down like this: “1. Be on the lookout for ways you can help. Sometimes leads fall in your lap via status-update questions. 2. Offer help, even — and especially — if it's advice or connections, not direct business. 3. Give credit to friends and clients: Tag them, share their posts/links and link to their sites."

* The bottom line: Staying connected in the short-term leverages your opportunities in the long-run. “You can't go back to them for help, if you didn't stay in touch,” says Lucy Rosen, author of Fast Track Networking: Turning Conversations Into Contacts.

Don't Abandon Face Time for Facebook (a.k.a. “Put down the mouse and leave the house.”):

* You can get only so close by clicking through someone's photo albums. “As a social media consultant, I believe whole-heartedly that connecting with people via social networking channels is a critical first step. It's a great way to get the conversation flowing and the communication lines open. However, it can't replace face-to-face interaction,” says Jillian Koeneman, 28, the founder of Freshlime Connect Digital Marketing.

* Or, as another expert puts it: “My ‘broad brushstroke' advice is to use online networking as a support to the networking that people do in the real world. Since networking is all about relationships, you can't rely simply on connecting on a social networking site; you have to find a way to engage in meaningful conversation. Once you've established that relationship, there's nothing wrong with leveraging it — for example, letting your network know that you are looking for work,” says David Fisher, author of Step by Step Networking.

Show Me The Money: Turning Social Networks Into Net Worth

* The good news is that the one-two combo of high-tech know-how and who you know will get you closer to your goal. For example, Simplyhired.com offers a quick way to leverage your friends to search for work. Firing up its “Who Do I Know?” feature lets you search job listings by title and location, and next to each available position, the names of any of your LinkedIn contacts with connections to that company will pop right up.

* Experts also recommend making use of your Facebook status, joining strategic LinkedIn Groups (specifically professional and networking groups related to your field), and starting to make Twitter do your bidding. According to Susan Britton Whitcomb, Chandlee Bryan and Deb Dib, the authors of The Twitter Job Search Guide: Find and Advance Your Career in Just 15 Minutes a Day, Tweetmyjobs.com, which offers half a million job tweets from more than 4,000 employers, and Twitterjobsearch.com, which aggregates jobs from a variety of feeds, are two key URLs for women in search of employment.

For more social networking tips, read the full story on ELLE

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  • These tips will have you online networking like a pro in no time.

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