Maximizing Social Networking for the Building Industry – Part 2

(Read part 1 here)

by Karen A. Davis

Social networking is a productive method for meeting colleagues in your field or across the many professions of the building industry. Since reading part one, I hope you’ve developed your plan to increase your presence on the networking sites and updated your profile with professional information and a few personal items, too.

The next step is to make your presence known to potential business partners and clients. When attending a live networking event, you introduce yourself to people in the room and join the discussions taking place. You’ll do the same when you network online.

Don’t be a wallflower, but don’t wave around the business card, either.Participate in conversations, and start your own. If you say things people want to hear, they’ll join you. As in live networking, the more engaging you are, the more people will gather to hear what the buzz is about in your corner. And, as in live conversations, you have to listen - actively.

Join groups within your chosen networks. LinkedIn and Facebook both have numerous sites for architects, real estate and facilities professionals, designers, and builders. Consider joining discussion groups related to your hobbies also. You never know when someone there might need your professional knowledge. If you haven’t found a group that addresses topics you’d like to discuss, you can start your own.

When you make your way to a discussion group, don’t just jump in and say, “I want to connect with businesses.” Well, isn’t that really why we’re all here? And don’t just post stuff about your company. Like I said in part one, nobody cares about your business unless you can help solve a problem they’re having. Participate in discussions, responding to questions that are asked, sharing your expertise and experiences, or offering to direct people to the right answer. Many times people will post an award or article in which they’ve been featured. Don’t just read it. Congratulate them on a job well done.

Feel free to ask questions. I’ve found that fellow group members are quite open and honest about matters of business and are willing to share their knowledge. Post links to interesting articles that you’ve read or written, and comment on how the information can benefit others. Again, actively participate, and people will find you.

Use your online connections to schedule offline meetings.
Keep a calendar of upcoming building industry events and network online with people who might attend. You can make plans to meet them at conferences, workshops and tradeshows. You’ll already have something to talk about when you get there, and you can discuss potential employment or business ventures. You can also create your own offline meetings in your area through

Get a grip and manage your time wisely.Be careful with social media. It’s easy to be drawn in and have it consume a good amount of your time and attention. You don’t want to belong to so many sites and groups that you can’t keep up. Just as you may schedule time to read and respond to e-mail, it’s also a good idea to plan your networking time. You still have projects and deals (with live clients attached) to tend to and complete in a timely manner.

My series on social networking for the building industry will continue, and I will devote separate articles to the sites on which I’m most active: Twitter, Google Blogger, LinkedIn, Facebook and Ning. I’ll also explore other social media sites, discovering how they can be a useful resource for collaboration among architects, designers, builders and real estate professionals.

© Copyright – Karen A. Davis. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.