Networking is the backbone of your business. According to the 2017 LinkedIn global survey, around 80% of professionals believe that networking is critical for their business.
However, the same research shows that the way business people approach networking is not satisfactory. Namely, almost half of professionals don’t use networking when things are going well for them.
Here are a few tips that may help you get the most out of your networking strategy.
Support Members of your Network
Networking is a two-way street. And, to build stronger relationships with your online community, you should always strive to give more than you get.
There are numerous methods of delivering value to your network.
- Share your network members’ content on your social media accounts, mention them, and provide a link to the original post.
- If a connection creates a valuable piece of content, link back to it in your blog post to help them increase traffic and authority.
- Help members of your community meet each other via email or social networks.
- Encourage network members to contribute to your blog.
- Recommend your network members.
- Interview reputable connections or ask them to be your guests on your podcasts, webinars, or live chat.
- Build and foster helpful online communities on social networks. For example, you could join relevant LinkedIn groups (or create your own ones), where you would share content and provide valuable answers.
Your goal is to provide favors to your network members consistently. This is a powerful way to convey your industry worth, build stronger relationships with your existing connections, as well as attract new network members and build trust with them.
Grow your Network by Producing Quality Content
When talking about online content, we usually link it to SEO, backlinks, and high rankings. However, content development and marketing go far beyond that.
By creating relevant, unique, fresh, and informative content, you have an opportunity to position yourself as an authoritative online resource. For starters, you need to diversify your content creation strategy. Experiment with the channels you will use to publish your content. This could be your blog, other relevant sites in your industry, social networks, etc. There are also different forms of quality content you could produce, such as articles, how-to guides, videos, infographics, podcasts, whitepapers, and so forth.
How does content help you network?
It helps you cast your net wider. Content that is perceived as high-quality earns loads of likes, shares, and backlinks online. For example, if your how-to guide provides actionable tips on solving a certain problem, people in your industry will share it with their communities across multiple channels.
To maximize the reach of your content, you could join relevant online communities and use social listening tools. The goal is to stay on top of relevant discussions and monitor the topics your target audience is talking about. Like I’ve mentioned above, you will provide them with relevant tips and this is a great opportunity for you to cite your content and link back to it. Sure, you should do so only when the content is closely related to what your network members are talking about.
Meeting Industry Professionals in Person is Still Possible
Just because you’re working online doesn’t mean you cannot meet your network members in person. There are numerous opportunities for you to do so and nurture better relationships with them.
For example, familiarize yourself with the major seminars, training programs, job fairs, and conventions in your industry and use them as an opportunity to make new connections. Stats say that 9 in 10 people claim that small meetings are their preferred networking option.
You could also join multiple local meetups related to your industry. Choose meetups hosted by authoritative names in your niche, as this is the indicator of their quality. Sure, you can join multiple meetups at a time and, above all, you can choose what events you will attend.
Alternatively, consider working from a coworking space. This is especially important given that 83% of people work remotely at least part of the time. For remote workers, freelancers, or solopreneurs, this is a great opportunity to meet the people that share their values and interests and that can turn their career by 180 degrees.
Make a Positive First Impression
In the digital age, we’re often posting content without thinking about the digital footprint we leave. Namely, every photo you upload, every status you write, and every comment you share stays online forever, creating your online identity. Keep in mind that online networks are not your digital diaries. They’re an opportunity to join a relevant community and build relationships with people with similar interests.
You also need to think about how you interact with your network members.
One of the greatest dont’s of networking is talking about yourself all the time. Instead, show genuine interest in people and their problems.
Let them know that you’ve remembered them and that you’re thinking of them. For instance, send them a personalized thank you note after the meeting. Ask them to be your guest on your new podcast episode. Share the hottest industry information with them or even inform them about the awesome career development opportunity that may be relevant to them.
This is important for a simple reason – no matter if you’re looking for a job, seeking new corporate partners, or searching for top talent, people will do business with you only if they like you and believe you’re trustworthy enough.
Over to You
Yep, networking is more complex than you thought. It requires you to invest your blood, sweat, and tears and yet, it doesn’t deliver overnight results.
That is exactly why you need to network strategically.
Always support your network.
Build your authority through helpful content.
Meet your connections in person.
Be kind, professional, and authentic to make a lasting impression.
Above all, keep track of the latest problems, trends, tools, and events that are impacting your industry.
What has the digital age brought to you when it comes to networking? Please let us know in the comments.
Featured image credit: Pixabay.com
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