Networking is the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.
It’s a fact – all business relationships, whether acquiring customers or finding that great job, need time to connect and follow-up to close. And online Networking is a great way to do it.
But every professional needs to tread the fine line between becoming a digital contact of choice and a relentless pursuer.
Here the top 7 e-Networking Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs
So how do you keep in touch smartly and effectively – here are the best ways to network online that help you stay ahead on the conversion curve.
Email as a tool
Always send a thank you or ‘great meeting you’ email if you connect with someone new. Make a reference to the context or venue of the meeting; mention the conversation you had. Even better, look up their their website or product line and add a meaningful comment about it. And importantly, do this fast – preferably within 48 hours of the meeting.
I recently signed up for a free business Webinar. Yes, it’s a marketing tool and the company will email subscribers to promote and upsell their products. But they inboxed me twice a day, non-stop. The offer emails grew so annoying that I not only unsubscribed, but also hid their messages from my social media feeds.
So, connect and reach out, but don’t spam.
Call to action
If your meeting had a takeaway action, use email to summarize and articulate the next steps. Even if everyone took notes, people always appreciate this, and it’s a great ‘keep in touch’ tool as well. If you are submitting a proposal with some lead time, say 2 weeks, it’s always a good idea to drop a quick note in between to update the client.
Smart, not Constant Messaging
Most professionals use email signatures for sharing contact details and social media links. But why not add info about an upcoming event, a new blog post or a promotion you are running – a short message (no more than 6-8 words) which can be hyperlinked to your website or Page. You get both visibility and click traffic!
Similarly, use the Pinned Post feature Facebook and Twitter offer to draw attention to any event, article or achievement that you want to direct your visitor traffic to.
A Picture or a 1000 words?
LinkedIn profiles with a picture get clicked 7 times more. Plus, given that LinkedIn memberships run 450 million plus, a picture helps with recognition – especially if yours is a popular name, it confirms to the Networking contact or a prospective employer which of the 30 Jane Smiths listed is you.
No good if you’re invisible.
Findability works both ways. Make it easier for others to find you. An average user gives up the online search for you in 40 seconds. So Google yourself to see what comes up. Search for your business website or Facebook Page from a device that’s not yours. LinkedIn profiles that are most recently updated or have more connects appear higher in the name search results.
Similarly, if you are on other Professional Networks, ensure that you update your business, contact and social media details.
Your Guide to be more findable - Free!
Don’t just sell. Engage.
Social Media is a great networking tool, but it’s a two way street. Just like you, everyone else needs activity on their page, so why not post and share on the pages of customers, prospects and peers. The engagement helps them – so naturally, they like you – but it also keeps you on their virtual horizon.
Found an interesting article that might be useful to someone? Sharing it is a great conversation tool and what’s great is, that you are giving something instead of only asking. That’s why Newsletters work so well – they establish your subject matter expertise and keep you high on recall.
Professional Networking needs to be a steady process of staying connected, and being out of sight is as bad as being in your face.
So find the sweet spot for your career connectivity in terms of frequency, channel and audience. The long term outcomes just might surpass your expectations.
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’