Executives are turning to social media and social networks more and more, but they aren't doing it to build friendships. Instead, new research has found many of those executives are joining social networks to advance their professional development.
Overall, 60 percent of executives say online visibility is the most important reason they are on social networks. That's because those executives believe professional success is positively affected by having an online presence.
"Social executives will win even bigger in 2013, not just in terms of attracting job offers but building their leadership brands and relationships that can make their executive lives better," said Mark Anderson, president of ExecuNet, an online private community of business executives.
Those executives aren't just joining normal social networks as they attempt to advance their careers though. Forty-five percent of executives say they are members of small and personalized social networks. Executives say they are turning to smaller networks because they are able to make the most valuable connections on those networks.
"Those places are impersonal databases," Anderson said. "In a smaller, private network it's also easier to manage your confidentiality, which executives care about."
Executives have good reason to have those feelings about the benefits of social networks. One-quarter of executives say they were contacted because of their social network profile. Though the research pertained to the social media use of executives, workers can take a page from executives when it comes to building their own profiles.
"Recruiters are searching for demonstrations of thought leadership, network connections, online recommendations, press releases, civic and volunteer activities," Anderson said. "Presenting a holistic view of yourself as a leader will elevate your candidacy. Move in circles of people who do the work you want to do. Share your experiences, so others can get to know you. Build your social capital by becoming known as a source for valuable content. That often leads to opportunities with others in their circles."
The research was based on the responses of 3,785 executives and 600 recruiters as a part of an ExecuNet survey.