Saturday, November 03, 2012

An Interview with Diane Crompton: An Atlanta Based Pioneer in Proactively Understanding Power of Social Networking

Diane Crompton is a personal branding and social media strategist having more than 20 years of experience. Her main three weapons are Coaching, Education and Training. Early on, she understood the power of social networking sites like LinkedIn way before others could and was proactive to adopt social networking tools.
Ms. Crompton is a renowned co-author of a couple of books on this subject titled as‘Seven Days to Online Networking’ published in 2008 and ‘Find a Job through Social Networking’ in 2010. She works under the banner of her consulting company Crompton & Associates. Diane holds a B.S. degree in Education from Massachusetts’ Springfield College and has taken graduate studies in Industrial Design. She is a member of CDI (Career Directors International) and ACPI (Association of Career Professionals International).
Hello Diane and welcome to Blogcritics. What do you think is/are the real power(s) of Social Networking?
There are so many benefits it’s hard to know where to begin.  With networking playing such a big role in relationship building, business development, career management, job search, etc., social media can serve as the critical business partner for these and many other networking objectives. 
I’ve heard many stories over the last several years about the power of social networking.  For myself, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and establish friendships and even cultivate business through using social networking tools.  One of the success stories I like to share is focused on an IT sales executive who was in job search and relying on traditional “post and pray” techniques initially.  She was introduced to social networking tools and quickly took to using LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media to build her brand and increase her visibility.  She successfully increased her visibility and credibility to the point that she had several offers in short order. Even now (that she’s employed) she continues to get noticed and tapped for consulting and other work offers.
What are the negative traits of Social Networking?
Whatever you say, or do online can be used against you. 

Whenever you enter a blog comment, tweet or post a LinkedIn update, you’ve created an online footprint that never really goes away.  So a little forethought is always a good thing when it comes to your social networking activity.  Otherwise, you could be “guilty until proven innocent” when it comes to how you’re perceived. 
Lacking a strategy for using social networking tools.
I get a lot of queries from contacts and clients who want to get started using social media without a clear objective as to what their objectives are.  The need for strategy is still important because without this, you may not be using your time effectively, not using the right social tools and may not get the best return on your investment of time.  Before you get started, determine what you are trying to accomplish, who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to communicate. 
It can’t be all about you.
Even though of course it’s all about you, it can never be all about you when it comes to the social universe.  To go “out there” in the social space with the primary objective of promoting yourself you’d miss some of the larger benefits such as meeting others, developing relationships, building community, sharing expertise and letting things unfold naturally.  By keeping your personal agenda secondary, your visibility and positive returns will grow organically. 
Using poor etiquette and having inappropriate expectations
Just because social networking takes place online, the same rules of thumb apply when it comes to appropriate etiquette.  Even though online mediums can feel very different it’s important to exercise the same good sense as in face to face connections.  This means focusing on making connections and building rapport to avoid making the wrong impression and possibly damaging relationships you’re trying to create. Rushing what will happen organically can end up killing the effectiveness of the interaction. 

What are the positive traits of Social Networking? 
There’s never been a more powerful time to take advantage of social networking tools on so many levels:

Sharing insight/expertise and gaining insight/expertise: 
Social networking tools like LinkedIn and Quora among others provide a great way to share your subject matter expertise with a broader audience and have access to some really smart folks who are ready to provide valuable insight and information, all at your fingertips. 
Building your brand and managing your career
It’s no longer considered a maybe to have a supportive online profile so that you can be found and so that your skills, expertise and experience can be showcased.  Leveraging social media to build your brand is strategic and relevant to today’s competitive, ever changing global job market.  And for job seekers, social media tools are a critical part of an effective job search in order to build referrals, get noticed and showcase their expertise.
Making connections
Remember using a Rolodex?  I must be dating myself here, but gone are the days of having to shuffle through business cards to get just the right contact.  With social networking tools, individuals can greatly expand their networking reach, gather intelligence on individuals before meetings and interviews, get referrals and have a more streamlined, efficient way to manage their contacts.
When did you realize the power of Social Networking and a need of educating the world about it?
I actually got stimulated to explore social networking tools early on due to some “buzz” I heard from clients who had started using these for job search.  I also became interested in these tools because I’ve always liked technology and have “never met a stranger.”  So, I started exploring social networking since this felt like a natural complement to traditional networking. When I started to encourage people to consider using social networking tools I had already been hearing success stories from individuals who had successfully used these to build visibility, make key contacts, get referrals, gather information and build their online brand. 
Our two books are an outcome of our (my co-author and my) enthusiasm on this subject and a way to share our expertise with others. 

What is the relationship between career management, personal branding and social media/ networking?
I think all of these things as interconnected and needing each other to create one “whole.”  For effective career management, one needs to have a well defined and executed personal brand.  And to effectively manage your career and build your personal brand, social media is a critical tool to amplify, streamline and expand on these efforts.
Would you like to share about your books Seven Days to Online Networking and Find a Job through Social Networking?
My co-author Ellen Sautter and I had the opportunity to write our first book Seven Days to Online Networking as a result of our manager at the time, Michelle Tullier.  Michelle is a published author many times over and she had been asked by JIST Publishing to write a book about using social networking for job search.  She wasn’t interested in doing this project at that time and she tapped Ellen and me to work on this project.  Michelle served a critical role not only in brokering the initial book deal but also served as our main editor for the first book.  The second book came about due to a need to update our original book content and to share our updated knowledge on social networking tools through a second edition.
We’ve received lots of compliments from readers of both books from all over the country and outside the U.S.  This has also been an affirmation that the content is relevant and that the book has been helpful to others, which is a very rewarding to both of us.
What message would you like to convey to our readers on Blogcritics?
Even though I’m a huge believer in “all things social” when it comes to social networking tools, there’s no real substitute for face to face interaction.  So, it’s still a great and timeless practice to get out from behind the computer or iPhone or tablet and make sure you’re talking to others and taking those online connections offline.  I am always interested in making new connections so please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter. 

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