Are You Building And Nurturing A Network? Or Falling Victim To Strategic Errors? Part 2

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I often talk with clients about networking, both in person and online through social media sites like LinkedIn. In this series, I’ll write about some of the most common errors I see. Strategic Error: Using The Wrong Platform

We all have personal lives and professional lives. Many of us choose to keep the two separate.

When you are building a professional network, be considerate. Be thoughtful about what your relationship is—or what you hope it will be—when approaching people so that you do not encroach were you are not welcome.

It’s usually okay to connect with friends through professional platforms (for example, connecting with your best friend through her LinkedIn profile). It’s usually not okay to try to connect with professionals through personal platforms (for example, trying to connect with the managing partner through her personal Facebook profile).

If you are trying to build professional connections, then contact people through professional platforms like their work email address, work telephone number, professional organizations, and professional social networks such as LinkedIn.

If you try to connect with them through personal platforms or social networks such as Facebook, you may not be successful. Understand that you also run the risk of annoying the person. So try to limit requests to connect on personal platforms to people you actually have a personal relationship with. Should you chose to make the request, then don’t push. Be prepared to be ignored, or to be redirected from the individual’s personal profile to her professional profile.

If your professional connection grows into a personal one, then fantastic! It can be great to have personal friendships with your professional allies—those can be the strongest and most productive relationships. If you’re lucky enough to have this develop, then you can feel free to ask to connect on personal platforms in addition to professional platforms.