People have misconceptions about what networking is and what building a network of contacts means. While most will agree that networking is related to business, it can be so much more. To dive deeper into the subject, I’m going to explain the fundamental techniques I use when networking online. These techniques have helped me transform my business by surrounding myself with like-minded people.
So with all that said, let’s get into how to network online.
What Is Networking?
So, first thing’s first, what exactly is networking? I like to think that networking is about meeting people. But the catch is that you don’t have to be an excellent talker. If you ask people how they imagine the perfect networker, they imagine a well-dressed person or someone extrovertive that loves to talk.
Well, not exactly. You can be an introvert and still be excellent at networking. The reason why we think of networkers like that is because of the previous statement. Networking isn’t necessarily related to business. Networking can be building relationships and meeting new friends.
And this happens all the time in every industry. So even if networking isn’t necessarily related to business, it still happens in many industries. To further explain it, it’s like meeting people and forging relationships with individuals that match your interests. With networking, your goal is to build a circle of friends that share your interests and build you up.
Networking For Social Media
As things shift more online, we are seeing that people are also networking online. Online networking is the top online activity globally. Social media is the obvious go-to medium to network online. I can give you so many examples of how networking through Instagram has helped me and my business. It was through Instagram that I met my assistant. But people who are starting to network have difficulty understanding how to do it online.
This is because of the misconception around it. Social media is so big that it can connect you with thousands of people. The best way to use social media for networking is to do all the things you normally do. Stuff like commenting, sharing, liking, and getting into people’s DMs.
To effectively use social media for networking, you need to do it constantly. That’s not to say that networking at events doesn’t require the same level of consistency, but it’s different when you do it online. For example, you can do it all the time. You don’t have to buy a ticket at a seminar; all you need to do is comment on someone’s Instagram or Facebook post.
With that said, it doesn’t matter what social media platform you network on. As long as like-minded individuals exist, you should do it. Eventually, people will notice your comments and will write back. Some might even return to your DMs and open a conversation with you. The important thing is to do it all the time. If you’re not doing it already, grab your phone and comment something nice or share your thoughts about someone’s post.
Networking Online – How To Do It?
Staying on the subject of social media, there isn’t a better way to build an online network machine than through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So long as you’re using any of these platforms, you can build a successful networking machine.
I use my Instagram when networking online. I have more than 200,000 followers who are all interested in the topics I’m discussing. Since I’m into personal development and entrepreneurship, most of my followers are interested in these topics. So, naturally, I post content that relates to them.
You need to do the same. At first, you might feel anxious about it. After all, you might have a couple of hundred followers, and this is indeed something new to you. You don’t know how your followers will react to what you’re doing. You might feel they’ll judge you or think you’re cooler than them. In today’s times, it’s so easy to judge someone else and what they’re doing. But you have to start somewhere. And there isn’t a better place to start than to post something related to your field of work on social media.
Let the fear go and make that first post. Be consistent, and don’t lose hope. Your Instagram account will start to grow through time. The new followers are there because they’re interested in what you have to say. Sooner or later, someone will connect with you, and you’ll start to forge relationships.
Connecting With People Online
Many would say this is the hardest part of networking online. Creating a social profile and growing it looks like a piece of cake compared to actually writing to someone to connect with. But if you want to network online successfully, you have to take this step. The best way to connect with someone and hope to establish a relationship is through email. Email is so huge that there are 4 billion email users in the world. With that said, some prefer DMs.
The fear that most people have is when trying to connect with a bigger social media personality. It’s easy to lose interest when reading a DM or an email from someone. While there is nothing I can do about it, you most certainly can. Before you connect with a bigger social media personality through DMs or email, make sure not to repeat the same mistakes everyone else does.
So allow me to explain to you how to write the perfect email or DM when networking online.
How To Write the Perfect Email or DM
This very last step can make or break your chances to connect with someone online successfully. Your goal is to forge friendships and create an inner circle of personalities that uplift you and help you with whatever you’re doing. So you’d hate to make them lose interest when reading your email or DM. This happens all the time, and it even happens to me. I get all kinds of emails, and it’s very easy to lose interest when reading some of them.
So what I recommend is to write to them directly. Don’t talk about what you do or who you are; just talk about what made you write the email or DM. You might start with something like: “Hi Erik, I really liked your video, and I wanted to tell you how much it helped me.”
You take this approach because the bigger accounts on social media receive hundreds if not thousands of emails and DMs every day. So they don’t have the time to write back to every single one. As much as I want to do it, it’s simply not achievable. So, even though I do read the emails from my followers, I don’t have the time to write back to everyone. But I do get a couple of emails that grab my attention. And you need to do the same if you want to connect with these bigger accounts.
Don’t make the email about yourself; make it about the person reading it. Acknowledge that they might not be able to write back and be respectful. This increases the chances of getting a reply and successfully making a connection. Mastering this technique doesn’t take a lot of time. Be respectful and be yourself. Don’t write long emails or long DMs, as the person reading will eventually lose interest. Instead, explain why you’ve reached out to them, and hopefully, they’ll write back.