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Social networking sites can be an extremely valuable tool in building your professional career and establishing yourself as a leader in your field. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn:

Position yourself (and your company) as an expert. Whatever your area of technical specialization, you can use online networking to showcase your talent and expertise.

Be a leader, not a follower. Develop thought leadership in your specific practice area by posting articles that are ahead of the curve in your area of technical expertise. Or, establish your own intellectual community within a networking site by creating a group. Your group can offer a discussion forum for hot IT topics relative to your business, publicize upcoming events and share information with customers and job candidates.

Share links to helpful content. Keeping current with developments in technology can be a full time job. As a result, timely, relevant information is extremely valuable to your clients, prospects and other contacts, and your social networks allow you to easily share the most relevant technical news.

Attract top talent. The best IT professionals stay on top of their game by constantly seeking out new information. Become a trusted source they turn to. Write and post articles about the aspects of technology most important to these professionals, and you’ll attract more top performers to your organization.

Answer a question in your field to attain expert status within your network. If you’re selected as having the best answer to a particular problem, it will show up on your LinkedIn profile. Providing answers is also a great way to strike up online conversations with new contacts and expand your network.

Put your best foot forward. When it comes to social networking for business, more is not always better. While you may be tempted to get every programmer on staff blogging about your latest upgrade, their chatter may only be perceived as noise (not to mention a huge waste of productive resources). Be selective. Make sure you pick the right people in your organization–talking about the right things–to have the strongest possible presence on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media.


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