Online Business Networking (It’s more powerful than you think.)
Know how and why you are valuable to people. The business people you want to network with have limited attention span – especially online. What are your accomplishments, personal and professional? What valuable skill/service do you offer? Make it clear that you have a unique, qualified perspective on the business decisions your prospects encounter. Once a person understands how your knowledge and interest graph relates to their business (or their life), trust is a natural outcome.
Network offline. As the world changes – things stay the same. Job offers made and lucrative business contracts awarded, go to people that have met in person. Personal contact remains the most effective way to build a relationship. Connect with your existing offline network when you first start using social media and online networking tools. Then, when you meet new people, stay in touch with them by connecting through the appropriate online venue.
Don’t be too eager. Resist the temptation to go overboard and connect with every executive, purchasing manager and business owner that has a profile on the web. Instead, build a small network. Become known for your expertise. Then, build a wider network. Become known. Repeat. With respect to “real” interpersonal, business relationships, glad-handing fools are rarely taken seriously. The same applies online.
Be different. In other words – be yourself. Not to sound ominous (I actually want to encourage people that the opposite is true, the web is a friendly place) – but your credibility is on the line. So, try hard, but don’t go too fast. It’s good to emulate people you respect, to a point. But in the long run, you’ll be successful by contributing information in areas of your personal expertise. Build leverage by ALWAYS using the same name, picture and similar description of who you are, for each social forum in which you engage (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.). Be yourself, let your expertise shine through to the world and meet your business goals.
I hope this post encourages you to take your online business networking to the next level. Please check out my tweets, or tap on my social sharing bar alongside this post. Thanks for reading.