How to Reduce Your Social Media Networking Anxiety


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I don’t know about you, but I’m not handy with tools. I also find most assembly instruction manuals less than helpful and that means the phrase “some assembly required” makes me anxious. For the longest time I put my social media networking efforts on hold because I viewed the entire process as major construction. While there is indeed some assembly required, it’s really not that difficult. If you’re currently having trouble establishing the lines of communication within these new digital rooms the following tips may help reduce your anxiety and improve your results.

1. Read, Read and Read some more. In a face-to-face networking environment this is the same as listening. Social networking platforms are great listening posts and provide a rare opportunity for anxiety-free active listening. While reading their words, you have the freedom to focus on what’s truly important to the writer – without the pressure to immediately reply. Whether the dialogue is going on in a group discussion on LinkedIn or in 140 character tweets on Twitter; take time to listen and understand the topic. Your online networking conversations will be more effective and fun if you are actively listening rather than trying to jump in and dominate the forum through a one-way dialogue that’s all about you.

2. Be aware of your digital body language. Does your bio or home page present your real photo or is the picture blank because you’re worried about privacy? How do you describe yourself? Do you use your current company job title or something more descriptive of your full background and interests? Is your profile complete or does it look like you’re merely passing through? There’s no right or wrong answers here because it depends on your networking goals as well as the image you want to project. However; being transparent, and real, goes a long way in these digital rooms making it more likely you’ll be approached and engaged by potential friends, followers and/or contacts.

3. Hunt for common ground in order to establish rapport, credibility and to build and nurture your connections. Corporate and University alumni groups (within LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, etc) are great starting points to find former colleagues and classmates. Once you’re in the room so to speak, look for points of common interest with other group members and adopt a service-based attitude. In other words; “how can I help you?”

4. Finally, remember the Golden Rule and treat other people as you would want to be treated. It’s old-fashioned, but it’s easy, true, and almost failsafe.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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