Networking is generally thought of as in person activity, but the internet provides you the opportunity to network with people all over the globe. There are so many choices of places to network online. You have probably used Facebook and LinkedIn. Many of you may also use Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Have you thought about networking with these people vs just accepting the connect, friend or follow request?
Some people seem to just be trying to get as many connections as possible. If you have all those connections, but you don’t really connect to them then is it doing you any good? Is there something you are interested in learning from them or that you could offer to them? You will more likely get an accept to your connect or friend request if you send a simple note about how you met them or that you have a mutual friend who suggested that you connect.
LinkedIn has built in responses to use when you congratulate someone on a work anniversary or they have a birthday. These are helpful to respond quickly, but adding something more personal to the note helps you connect with them more. When someone likes an article that you posted, you can reach out to them and say thanks for liking your post. Ask them how things are going for them at their job and what new things are they working on. You know that you already have a common interest because they liked what you posted. Leverage that to build a stronger connection.
Post a question in a Facebook or LinkedIn group. People will respond to your question which will automatically help you connect on your common interest. Send a separate message to them if you want to connect further. Answer questions, like and comment on other people’s posts to let them know that you are interested in what they are sharing as well. Here are some Best Practices for Online Networking that you can use to further your online networking.
Leverage filters and search tools to narrow down the people that you want to connect with so it isn’t so overwhelming. One thing to keep in mind is that you want to be a giver, before you are a taker. Offer something to them that may be helpful to them vs only telling them what you need from them. It is no different than what you would do if you were talking to them in person at an event. If you are looking for some additional ideas, Build your career network online offers some additional tips. Take 10-15 minutes and do this every day. Don’t wait until you lose your job and then start reaching out to people. Having a strong network is a great asset to have when you need help. Take the opportunity to leverage these online best practices to help you expand your network even more than you imagined.