Dec
16

Get Connected: 5 Top Tips for Online Networking

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The advent of online networking has meant a huge shift in how we connect with people.  While it has not overtaken more traditional forms of networking, such as referral groups (like BNI) and casual contact networking (as Dr Ivan Misner discovered while conducting research for his new book, “Business Networking And Sex”), online networking is certainly great for building relationships.

In light of this, we have put together five top tips to help you get the most out of your online networking.

Remember VCP

In order to be successful in any networking environment you need to remember the basic principles of visibility, credibility, and profitability (VCP).

We do business with people we know, like and trust.  Think of online networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn as ways to build these relationships, which, just like in the ‘real’ world, you must do before trying to make a sale.  Imagine you were at a networking event and a stranger gave you their business card and said “Buy from me!”  It would make you not want to buy from them.  The same is true online; don’t send someone a message promoting yourself before you have built a relationship with them.

Complete Your Online Profiles

Your online profiles are great credibility builders … provided you take the time to complete them.  Most people will read them before deciding whether to connect with you.

Some of the elements you should include in your profile are your:

  • Location – people may want to meet you.
  • Work history – including company names, positions, and job descriptions.
  • Hobbies and interests – to create the ‘I’m like you’ factor.

Think Before You Post

Remember VCP.  Before you post photos of drunken nights, think about how they might affect your business relationships.  Keep these things for your personal profiles and check your privacy settings.  Remember, the internet is permanent: once you put something out there, it is there for good.

Get Active and Contribute

When you go to a networking function in the ‘real’ world do you sit alone in the corner?  Of course not.  So when you are online, make sure you join groups and be part of the conversation.  You get the greatest value from online networking when you contribute.  Just as Givers Gain® works offline, givers do gain online, too.

Connect Online and Offline

If distance allows, you might like to meet up with people you have met online.  Similarly, when you meet someone new in person, stay in contact online as well.  Both keep the connection going, which is just what networking is all about.

Try some of these tips – and let us know how you go at social.media@bni.com.au

Natalie Alaimo is the National Social Media Director for BNI Australia.  She also runs social media training business, Natalie Alaimo International, teaching entrepreneurs how to leverage the power of social media to generate an avalanche of clients.  Visit her online to download a FREE copy of “The 9 Essential Tips to Social Media Success”.

Categories : Education, Networking

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