Using Social Media for Networking

I was recently invited by the American Public Health Association (APHA) to speak to their early career members about using social media for professional networking. My presentation provided some tips for using social media in a professional setting and focused LinkedIn and Twitter as vehicles for networking. Some excerpts from the full presentation are below. The primary message from the presentation was:

The best way to use social media for networking is to use it effectively in your day-to-day professional life.

Using social media in a professional setting involves:

  • establishing professional social media profiles that are separate from your personal profiles;
  • finding your voice and creating fresh content; and
  • getting your voice heard among the noise (i.e. disseminating your content effectively).

LinkedIn and Twitter continue to be two of the best channels for connecting with colleagues and professionals. Below are a few tips for using each.

Tips for using LinkedIn for networking:

  • Complete your profile (it sounds simple, but most people haven't done it).
  • Use the background section to attach a copy of your resume for easy printing.
  • Expand on your previous experience using the same keywords peers and recruiters will use to search the site.
  • Join groups and participate actively.
  • Create a custom url that's easy to share and print on business cards.

Tips for using Twitter for Networking:

  • Use a professional profile picture.
  • Use the bio section to provide specifics on who you are and what kind of content you'll share.
  • Focus on a variety of tweet formats (e.g. text, images, video).
  • Use automation tools for planned content and focus your day-to-day energy on joining the conversation and responding to other's tweets.
  • Make the most of in-person events through live tweeting and participating in ongoing conversations.

Dos and Don'ts of Social Media Networking

Once you've made some valuable virtual connections, here are a few dos and don'ts for using social media for networking.


  • Ask for a job.
  • Ask him/her to buy something (i.e. don't mix your personal connections with your company's sales strategy).


  • Ask to be connected with an HR representative at his/her company.
  • Ask his/her professional advice about succeeding in the field.
  • Ask for an informational interview about his/her organization or industry.
  • Ask which events, conferences, or trainings you should attend.

Thanks again to APHA for inviting me to speak with tomorrow's public health leaders. The full presentation is available on Slideshare.