This online world we all inhabit offers a golden opportunity to connect with like-minded people and form meaningful working relationships: that is, if you know how to use it to your advantage. Here are five quick tips to help you get started with building your own online network:
- Spruce up your existing online presence. If you’re already active online, through having your own website or social media accounts, you can ensure that these are so high-quality that they encourage others to reach out to you. Keep these platforms up to date, and always offer clear and visible contact information. The more places you can display your email address, the better!
- Think about your ‘netiquette’. Online etiquette, or netiquette, if you will, is vital for making a good first impression. Consider the most appropriate tone and language for the purpose or audience you’re aiming for and think about what hook you can place in your initial message to intrigue your point of contact. What will make them want to get back to you and find out more?
- Research online spaces related to your industry. If you’re looking for new contacts to connect with, spend some time thinking about how your own niche and industry fits into the online world. Is there a professional body or organisation that represents associated businesses and individuals? Are there any relevant brands that might have a PR list you can join? Are there any online chat or discussion groups you can engage with? If you’re struggling to identify any of the above, one impactful method of networking may even be to establish your own!
- Ensure working relationships are mutually beneficial. One of the most important things when reaching out to others is considering what they can offer you, and what you can offer them in return. When establishing professional relationships, showing an awareness of your contact’s line of work and the skills they might benefit from, and how you can offer those particular skills, can be an effective way of cementing a mutually beneficial partnership.
- Keep your values and integrity in mind. Finally, as with any ‘physical’ methods of communication, always treat people with respect. Communicating online, without the social cues that we pick up on when talking face-to-face may require you to be particularly conscious of the tone and language you’re using when reaching out to people. Remain true to who you are, empower the person you’re communicating with, and portray yourself to your fullest potential. It’s your time to shine!
If you’re looking for further bespoke tips on networking online, check out How To Network Online by Pippa Stacey!