Everyone is using it...And if you're not, you're "pound sound-sign" losing (#Losing). There's been an increase of users on every social media site on the web, but not everyone is using it or knows how to use social media to its maximum capabilities. I've done some research myself into how to make social networks work for you.
1. Free Advertising: If you're on twitter, facebook, etc., you all know that its an easy way to get your name out to friends, follower and/or whoever else happens to stumble upon it. Take advantage! Whether you're using it publicize for a professional event, student organization, or your lil' cousins birthday party get the word out to the people you want to be there. (I like to call this viral marketing.)
2. Meet new people. Twitter, Linked-In, etc, connects you to a whole world of people at your finger tips. Not everyone you are looking to meet, but some people may have something you want. I know your mom told you "not to talk to strangers", but in this case you might want to throw that rule out the window. Network, Network, and do some more Network. Meet people that will matter to you, that share some of the same interests, ideas, are in the same field of work. You never know how you can be benefit from a new friend, follower, or connection.
3. Build a name for yourself. You want to make sure that you are getting the word about who you are. A lot of people on these sites fail to fully fill out their profiles forgetting key information. You want to make sure you tell enough without telling too much. Learn to make people interest in what you have to say, what you're about to do, make them want to get to know you. Please remember to be yourself, you never want to sound too professional and legitimate because even in the professional world #Fake stinks!
4.Navigate Opportunities. There's a plethora of events happening in your area that you may not know of. Stay on top of whats going and see who's going to what. I personally use my twitter and FB to see what events of interest are happening in the area that may be able to attend. If key people are there, #WIT (we in there)! Use this for your advantage find out important news stories and etc. Social Networking sites can be your go-to place for the "know-how" and the "what's happenings" globally and locally!
5. Share and seek the knowledge. With all these people on these sites, there's tons of information shared by experts. Get to know these people and pick their brains, read their articles, follow their blogs, etc. In order to become more marketable and an expert in your own right one day, you must obtain this brain power from those notable in their field.