Online Business Networking Tips
Use these online business networking tips and present your business with huge opportunities that you couldn’t otherwise access. These tips will ensure that you max out on your investment of time and money.
10 online business networking tips
- Decide what you want to achieve
It is so tempting to take advantage of all those online networking opportunities out there, especially as many don’t even require your money but remember these opportunities can also be a massive drain on your time…and time is money so have clear objective in mind as to what you want to achieve.
- Do your research
Surf the net to find out what organisations are out there. Some online networking sites are stand-alone sites, others are affiliated with face to face networking organisations. There are sites which have a more social networking bias, others are more business-focused. Some sites are specific to industries or sectors, others welcome people from any business or in any job.
I have listed a few sites and will keep adding, but also ask other business people to find out what has or hasn’t worked for them and why.
- Allocate time for online business networking
Like anything, you only get out what you put in. Taking an unstructured ill-thought-out ad-hoc approach probably will not get you the results you want. If you are going to treat this as a serious marketing activity allocate time in your working day to set out to achieve your objectives.
- Decide who you need to network with
Think about the contacts you are looking for, and set out to make them. There are so many contacts out there and you will find that there will be people who will want to make contact with you for whatever reason but who will not be the contacts you are looking for. Whilst I’m an advocate of networking with lots of people (you never know when they may be useful) recognize too how too much spent with less-than-useful contacts can be huge drain on your time and focus.
- Ensure you have a complete and up to date profile
Your online profile, a key feature of online networking sites, is your chance to explain who you are, what you do and why people should be interested in you. Ensure you complete your profile fully always keeping in mind the key messages you want to get across and review it regularly to keep it up to date.
- Let the real ‘you’ shine through in your profile
Go back to the basics of networking – it’s about ‘know, like and trust’ so you need to include in your profile some personal information about ‘you’ so people can relate to you and start to build a ‘virtual rapport’ with you.
- Include a photo of yourself
People like to know who they are connecting with and seeing a photo of is an important part to this.
- Participate in online clubs or discussion groups
One way to really get to know other people is to join clubs or discussion groups covering subjects of mutual interest or similar areas of work. Again think about what you want to achieve and find groups that are likely to attract the contacts you are seeking.
- Be proactive
Don’t be afraid to make the first move and introduce yourself to others, rather than waiting for others to find you
- Be interested and help others first
Before you launch in and start telling people about yourself get to know others first by reading their profiles, websites and blogs before contacting them. You can then comment on these, showing your interest -a fantastic way of starting that rapport building process.
Remember, whether it's offline or online business networking tips the number one rule of networking still applies - give a genuine offer of help and not do a sales pitch.
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