Networking nowa days for professional purposes is often done via social media using sites such as LinkedIn and even Facebook.
But..there are other more engaging ways to connect with professionals in tandem with social media that will gain you not only professional relationships but personal relationships as well that can be leveraged in your industry.
Below are the steps I take to personally and professionally grow within my industry:
- Create and evolve a LinkedIn profile. As we continue in our careers and develop our skills or gain new ones it is always best to continually revise your LinkedIn profile. I have personally noticed whenever I make a change, my number of viewers grow.
- Connect! Always remember people’s names when they introduce themselves to you and if they give their permission add them to your LinkedIn. I always do this and write them a personal message to say thank you for adding me.
- Post. Try and post unique topics for conversation that drive engagement from your connections. I am guilty of being terrible at this, it is one area I need to take my own advice on. But I think it is indeed something you should do so that you do not let your connections go “dry” like that friend you talk to once every three years or more.
- Get out there. Give LinkedIn some time off and join a Meetup group of your interest or industry. This is where the fun really begins! Just this past year I joined a metope group for Anime, Marketing, History, and Asian Culture as well as a group called RAG (Random Activity Group). Each group organizes tons of social events from trivia nights, cocktail parties, discussion groups, educational lectures and board games at the Riddle Room. The best part is that each time you go there are different attendees. Whenever i go to events hosted by my groups there are always interesting people I meet from various backgrounds including my background-advertising and museum studies. Last meet up I connected with a jewellery designer, an chemical engineer, a web developer and a video game programmer. In the past I have also connected with other advertising professionals, bloggers, and business and economics fanatics. Each of them provided me with professional connections to network with and a friendly relationship to support that connection.
In conclusion, don’t just sit behind your computer screen. Use social media as a starting point to get yourself out there, but always use your actual face to develop your professional side. People want to remember you, not a picture of you. I have now made a commitment to do my best to keep up both my online appearance and my offline appearance to keep developing and qualifying my professional networks.