Build Your Network and Increase Your Happiness: Three Tips for Increasing Happiness by Building your Personal Brand

Dr. Oz was on the “Today” show this week talking about what he calls “drive-by” relationships where people merely rely on social media to connect with others.

Connecting face-to-faceI believe people should use social media as a means to an end, with the end goal being a face-to-face experience. True friendships are founded on personal interaction, not just clicking on Like, Friend, Follow or Connect on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. If you want people to invest in you, you have to invest in them.

Dr. Oz also stated that women, especially, can feel lonely and depressed even if they have tons of friends on social media. I think that’s because people tend to paint a really happy and overly optimistic picture of their lives online whereas in real life, things aren’t always so hunky dory.

When you connect face-to-face with another person, your brain receives a boost of serotonin and oxytocin, two chemicals that make you feel good and increase your feelings of optimism and happiness. Interacting through a computer or smartphone does not have the same level of impact.

Others will be drawn to you if you are happy, authentic and optimistic, and being socially connected will improve your personal and professional lives. My three top tips for building your personal brand (the message you send to others about who you are) and, in turn, the number of supportive, positive people in your network are:

  1. When you connect online with someone from your past you would like to reconnect with in the present, proactively set a date and time to get together and do something, whether it’s coffee, lunch, drinks, a walk, or some other experience.
  2. If you meet someone new you would like to get to know more, connect with them on social media with the goal of staying in touch and finding ways to do things in real life, not just online.
  3. Offer to help introduce those in your network to others you know who have shared interests or professional goals. If you take the time to help others connect, they will feel more connected to you.