Top 10 Ways to Use Social Media to Give Back to Your Network

Social networking is not just an opportunity to take – it’s a powerful chance to make yourself useful to others who can help you down the road.

If you’re in the midst of a job search, you know that networks are important. Powerful. Essential. Most jobs are found through some kind of networking contact, so bolstering your relationships with all members of your network must be among your first priorities as you pursue your next role.

Effective networking is all about giving. And although the holiday giving season is far behind us, when it comes to your network, giving is a year-long activity.

One of the best gifts you can give to members of your network is help in building their personal brands. When we make others look good, we look good – to them! So consider these free or very low-cost, Web 2.0-focused personal-branding presents. It’s time to demonstrate your personal-brand attribute of generosity and your knowledge of social media.
Here are my top 10 tips:

  1. Recommend people on LinkedIn. Nothing says “I care about you” in a Web 2.0 world like a positive reference posted on your LinkedIn profile. To do this, just ensure they are in your network, then click on “Recommend.” You are helping make their LinkedIn profile more valuable and credible – the best kind of personal branding.
  2. Add them to your Facebook friends. In the world of social networking, virtual popularity is even better than real-world popularity.
  3. Buy a personal domain name for them (i.e., For a year, it only costs about $9. You can search for and buy domain names at Even if they aren’t ready for their own Web site, buying a domain name is like buying a plot of land: You own it so that when you are ready, you can build on it.
  4. Write a blog post about them or reference them in a comment on a relevant blog. To find blogs around specific topics, enter your keywords at You can also link to their Web site or blog or put their blog in your blogroll. (We all know how much Google loves inbound links.)
  5. Discover their Google Quotient for them. Use the Online ID Calculator to help them understand how their personal brand shows up online. In the new world of work, if you don’t show up in Google, you don’t exist. So help them build their online profile by showing them how they currently show up on the World Wide Web. Use the calculator after Googling them, then e-mail them the results. It’s free!
  6. Quote or reference them in an article you are writing or a presentation you are delivering – and make sure they know about the reference. Post the article or slides online.
  7. If you write a press release about your article or presentation, include their name iin all free press-release search engines like
  8. Provide positive feedback. Rate their YouTube video and share their video with others in your network. Creating and uploading videos can be a lot of work, recognize their efforts. For your network contacts who are authors, write a review of their book or ebook and post it at and,
  9. Create Google Alerts for your close professional contacts. Google Alerts allows you to stay on top of new content related to any person, company or topic. When you establish alerts for your network members, you will be notified each time they are mentioned in a blog or quoted in article. Then you can send them a congratulatory e-mail.
  10. And here’s a Web 2.0 gift courtesy of my own company: Give your contacts a link to 360˚Reach so they can perform a personal-branding assessment. Fifteen-day passwords to the newly launched version of 360˚Reach are free – everyone’s favorite price! You can also perform your own assessment and include them in your list of respondents. Asking them for feedback about you shows that you respect their opinion.

Remember, networking is all about giving; and during this recessionary period, helping people with their personal branding is a valuable and appreciated gift.