Shhhh ... Don't tell anyone, but I'm going to share a secret with you.
Over 95% of the professionals on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or any other Social Media site you can name are INEFFECTIVE!
The reason they are ineffective: they don't engage their connections!
There is a mistaken belief that all you must do to be an effective networker is add names. However, that does not make you an effective networker; what it does make you is an effective collector.
Ask yourself these questions:
Most people have several containers.
These individuals are collectors; not connectors! They are stuck in the past and continue to look at today's networking tools, if they even use them, in the same way they looked at yesterday's Rolodex. To them it is simply a collection of names versus the opportunity to connect.
Networking is about connecting. Networking is about each party adding value to the other.
When some hear that networking is about adding value they become scared that networking will take an inordinate amount of time and no certainty as to a return on the investment.
Neither of these could be further from the truth. Networking, done properly with today's Social Media tools, can be accomplished with a minimal investment of time and effort.
As to the return on investment; there may not be an immediate payback, but the payback will come because of the value that you are adding. Value added does not go unrewarded.
The following is an interesting story about Michelle's success using LinkedIn.
Michelle specializes in helping organizations plan for the unexpected. She is a disaster planning specialist. When she started her new job, she wanted to capitalize on her knowledge of disaster planning and searched for the position that would enable her to do that.