Even having a personal brand attribute of being connected, I am going to be the first one to admit that I do not use or leverage online networks as much as I should or could.
But I have made it one of my goals this year to spend more concentrated time on them, in particular LinkedIn as most of the work I am doing is with larger companies and I am looking to do more workshops and keynotes for employees as part of their development inside their current organizations .
In spending that extra time I noticed that the number of company profiles in LinkedIn is increasing significantly and they have a new - FOLLOW.
If you check that button each time something happens in that company in relation to people who have it on their profile you will be notifed. This includes new employees, promotions, those leaving etc.
Within a few days of doing this I noticed that a strong contact I had in an existing client had moved to another company. I sent a quick e-mail of congratulations and received an immediate response thanking me and saying they were working on getting me involved with their new organization.
This underlines for me where technology and personal branding really connect - it is not about numbers or ranking, its about what you do with the information that counts.