Networking can be a helpful and insightful experience for any individual or firm (large or small). Networking in the digital age is becoming much easier as we can now connect with people at the click of a button.
It might seem as if the “digital age” has completely revamped the way you should engage in business networking. In some way, this is correct, but the essential skills you learned while going through the process in person still applies. Technological upgrades may have made the act of building a network and casting your net for potential clients or contacts easier than ever before, but business networking in the digital age is still all about putting yourself and your services out there.
As with traditional networking, helping others is just as important with digital networking. You will see better results and build stronger relationships over time since you are not always looking for something immediate in return.
Perform favours in various forms to offer value to your existing network, as well as new connections:
- Introduce members of your network to one another via e-mail.
- Recommend your connections on LinkedIn.
- Re-tweet and Tweet the original content of others in your network, mentioning them.
- Feature members of your community as guest bloggers on your blog.
- Share the content of others on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.
- Interview members of your community and feature them on your blog or other publications.
- Invite members of your network to be guests on your Twitter account, etc.
Networking is a non-stop commitment that takes a long time to pay off, but in order to reach that point, you will have to be fully committed to supporting your network and each individual relationship.
If there is one digital networking channel for professionals that must be highlighted, it is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the most effective professional social media channel for networking with like-minded people and it is imperative that you take advantage of its helpful features. Once you have set up your LinkedIn profile and filled it out to its fullest, start connecting with other professionals of interest.
Best practices for LinkedIn:
- Find contacts: The best place to start your networking adventure is with the contacts you already have. With over 450 million users, there is a good chance you will find at least a handful of your current and former contacts.
- Join groups: LinkedIn allows users to create groups. These groups are generally based around the industry, location, and activity. Join the groups that pertain to your firm and engage by asking questions, posting answers and joining discussions.
- Post News: LinkedIn can also act as an informal press release distribution network. Whenever you or your firm makes news, post an update to your profile.
Modern technology has made the world smaller and in a sense, easier to network in. You and your firm can network more successfully and at greater speed with the various platforms available. Always remember that the basics of networking applies, no matter where, how and with who you network.
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This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.