Networking is an essential skill to have for any business person. While much of it still takes place offline, you also need to be able to do it online too. It can take a long time to master being able to network on the internet. There are a number of platforms to use and methods to try out. Networking online can be both easier and harder than doing so in person. Corresponding via quick messages can make it simple to do things in your own time. But it can also feel like you should always be doing something. Try these tips if you want to improve your online networking skills.
Know How to Behave on Different Platforms
A while ago, there was a row in the UK over a man sending a female lawyer a message about her appearance on LinkedIn. Whether or not you think the action is sexist, most people would agree that’s not what LinkedIn is for. In fact, many would suggest that there is a more professional tone on the platform. Something like Twitter, for example, allows for more informal interactions. It can be beneficial to get a grasp on how you should come across in different forms of communication. Sites like Facebook and Twitter often allow for a more informal tone. And each social media platform has its own rules and etiquette. Learning these unspoken rules will serve you well.
Integrate Your Online and Offline Networking
Even if you do a lot of your networking online, you probably still attend “real life” events. You should take these opportunities to connect the two worlds so that they’re not separate arenas. For example, you can tweet about an event while you’re in attendance, sharing photos and moments from the day. It’s also a good idea to include your online information on your business cards. They have long included email addresses and websites, but you can now put your Twitter handle, Facebook page or perhaps Skype name.
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Research People to Connect With
When you’re talking to someone in person, you can only find out what they tell you. But online you have the ability to learn more about them. By looking at the information available online, you can get to know them better and connect with them more. Use their social media pages, website and other information. You can research them to give you conversation material. Perhaps you’ll find out you have a shared interest or that you have a work connection.
Some people make the mistake of setting up a profile on a website and then leaving it. It might have some useful information about you, but it’s not much use if you don’t participate. Social media platforms are built for being social, so join in with conversations. Make sure you’re not just talking to yourself, either. You need to engage other people and gain value from the interactions you have.
Networking online isn’t that different from doing it offline. But it’s essential to learn how to use the tools available to you.