Networking online isn’t all that different from networking in person. Here are some easy steps to get you on track to building online relationships that will help you reach your professional goals:
Step 1: Where to find the right people.
First, you need to know what type of people you’re trying to network with. Are you a dog owner looking to network with other dog owners? Are you a hairstylist looking to expand your clientele? Are you an entrepreneur looking for investors? In any case, finding the right people for you is accomplished in the same as it is in person – you need to go out of your comfort zone and meet new people. For online networking, try attending webinars, joining live streams, following pages, and surfing accounts. The more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you will have to build your network. Set your net far and wide and set goals to help keep you on track to meeting new people regularly.
Step 2: Building a network.
Now that you’ve found your people, you need to connect with them. Thanks to social media, there are many ways that you can do this. If there’s an option to send a direct message to another person’s social media account, that’s an awesome way to connect with them. Just remember, if they don’t respond to your message, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to connect with you. Perhaps try an alternative way to contact them or reach out to a mutual friend of theirs. Once the dialogue has started, you want to build an understanding of one another since trust can be difficult to build when you aren’t face-to-face. Try to be more than just a keyboard behind a screen and find creative ways to share parts of your personality.
Step 3: Maintaining relationships.
Networking isn’t something that has a set start and finish. Networking is about repeated interactions and continuously seeking new relationships. If you speak to someone once, have you really networked with them? You need to check in with others regularly to maintain a lasting impression so that relationships don’t fade. Social media can help with this since every time you make a new post, the viewers who see that post are reminded about you. If that reminder is linked to a previous interaction that was positive, then you’ve developed a professional network online. Last, but certainly not least, remember to always show your support for the people in your network by liking their posts, commenting on them and sharing their content.