In our interconnected world, business professionals are using smartphones and other electronic devices to maintain constant interaction with their work. You see businessmen in suits on the subway staring at the screen on their phones and checking their emails. On airplanes, traveling business professionals can be seen reviewing presentations or reports on laptops. Therefore, it isn’t unreasonable to expect that networking has also shifted towards online communities in order to provide business professionals with increased accessibility to potential contacts. If you haven’t jumped on this networking opportunity yet or not currently getting the most out of online networking, here are some tips to get you started:
- LinkedIn: Probably the most important social media networking tool for business professionals, a LinkedIn profile will not only connect you to previous clients and contacts but also, could provide more opportunity to develop more. By participating in professional groups focused on your particular industry or profession, you can interact with other likeminded people that may develop into a new connection or provide leads. Also, many HR departments are now turning to LinkedIn as a way to judge potential candidates or headhunt, so keeping your profile current and complete is extremely important.
- Twitter- You wouldn’t think that networking could be reduced down to 140 characters, but Twitter is a great way to share content with other business professionals and build relationships. Maybe it’s because our society has developed short attention spans and prefer quick and abbreviated messages over long typed out emails but whatever it may be, Twitter has definitely attracted a large business community which every serious businessperson should take part in. Be sure to share relevant content and avoid unflattering statements in order to better promote yourself and legitimize your professionalism.
- Blogs- Even if you don’t deem yourself an expert in your industry, contributing to blogs is a great way to put yourself out there on the Internet. Find blogs that cater to your industry or profession and write articles as a contributor. Make sure you write something original and interesting to attract others interested in the same things. When someone comments on an article, follow up and begin building a relationship with that person. Later down the road, they could become a solid connection in your network and provide opportunities you wouldn’t have had before.
- Klout- The key to anybody’s networking is establishing clout in their field and there just so happens to be a website that measures that, Klout.com. By being active on multiple social media outlets and developing solid relationships upon those, you can raise your Klout score. The higher the better and you will begin attracting other key influencers to network with.
These social media outlets are just the beginning to networking online and there are organizations that exist solely for this purpose. For example, the National Association of Distinguished Professionals is an online community that business professionals can join and meet others. They also offer many other networking services like webinars, blogs, and personal branding tools. Using resources like NADP will greatly assist you in accomplishing your networking goals and connecting with more individuals.
How to Build Your Network Online