Daily Tip: Building an Effective Social Network

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In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, a ghostly voice tells Kevin Costner’s character, “If you build it, he will come.” So Costner’s character builds a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield and, lo and behold, a bunch of deceased baseball players appear and begin running the bases.

But with social media, if you build it, they won’t come… unless you take the time (lots of time) to solicit an audience. You can spend hours creating the ideal profile on Twitter or other social media channels, but all your careful designs will prove for naught unless you head out there and engage with others in the ecosystem.

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Actively growing your network can prove a slog at first—you can Tweet and post incredible content, only to receive a few followers in return—but diligent efforts will eventually pay off. Ask among your friends and colleagues, and chances are pretty good you’ll eventually hear about a job (or at least a good freelance gig) found through a social-networking connection.

Is there any way to accelerate your network’s growth? Be helpful. People often rely on social networks to post questions about everything from résumés to employment opportunities in their area. If you participate in those discussions, and provide useful information, you’ll soon draw followers and grow your influence. And that can prove beneficial in all sorts of ways.

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