Social Media For Location Independent Parents – Which Networks Should I Use?

Social media

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The online world can be a lifeline for location independent parents. That’s how you can keep in touch with friends and family and keep your business going. But that same online world can be a real time-sink, eating up countless hours which you could use more profitably elsewhere. As a location independent professional, you will depend on social media to keep your business going, but you don’t want it to take over your life.

To get started with social media, decide which networks are most important to you. This may depend on your actual business model and who you are trying to reach. I rely on three principal networks through which I funnel most of my social interactions online – two of these are mainly professional and one mainly personal. Let’s start with the personal one first – Facebook. With tens of millions of users worldwide, no professional can ignore it…

Facebook

When I started using Facebook I used it to keep in touch with people I actually knew and had met face to face who were now scattered around the world. As such, it was primarily a social tool.  That has changed as many of the people I’ve connected with online also use Facebook to connect with colleagues and clients – so I do too. I’ve automated my Facebook profile by using a built in tool (there are several to choose from) to import my blog posts – that means I share them both with colleagues and with friends.

The key to separating the your personal from your business life on Facebook is to divide your group of friends into lists and then decide which updates they can see and which they don’t. For me, this ensures that business colleagues don’t see photos and videos of me having too good a time at a family event, but do get all business related updates.

I can also update Facebook from one of my other main tools, Twitter, by using the #fb hashtag. Ideally, it’s better to set up a Facebook page for professional use if you are new to Facebook. That will allow you to completely separate business and personal interactions.

Twitter

Twitter is another important social media tool. I use it to connect with other freelance writers, the location independent community (both parents and business people) and others who might have something interesting to say. Because each message can be no more than 140 characters, communication is concise and focused – no waffle.

Twitter is a great place to get advice on work related problems, connect with potential clients, get recommendations and testimonials and take part in online chats. Because of the use of hashtags you can also use it to feed selected updates to other networks such as Facebook (as I mentioned above), LinkedIn, Brazen Careerist and many others.

One of Twitter’s strengths as a professional tool is the search features. It is an excellent research tool and it’s bang up to date. That works well not just for the writing business but for any business.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not the only business network there is, but it has a lot of features that will help any business. You can create a great profile that not only includes the elements of a traditional resume, but also pulls in links from your blog, slideshows and more interactive content.

You can network with others through groups targeted on particular business areas, and get recommendations and testimonials from people you have worked with. You can highlight your expertise by answering questions, build your network by seeing who your connections are networking with and even apply for jobs. Like Facebook, your LinkedIn status can be updated from Twitter with a hashtag.

Bear in mind that there is no single perfect network that location independent parents should use.

The one that’s right for you will depend on the people you are trying to reach, but here are a few possibilities to get you started.  In some cases using these tools will lead directly to a business opportunity; in others they will help you to make contacts and set up meetings which may expand your network and lead indirectly to business.

Next time, I’ll look at how location independent parents can streamline their online interactions to make the most effective use of their time…

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