Online Networking Must-Dos:
Over one million people join each month, giving them access to network with industry leaders. Think about all the times success in a particular situation comes down to one meeting, one call, one great reference or endorsement. Whether the goal is to job-hunt or market a new business, those who are much more committed to building solid networks almost always find more success and better opportunities.
Anyone in any industry should post a solid profile stating clearly their professional background and company affiliations. LinkedIn isn’t the only site; check out Careerbuilder’s Brightfuse. You can also join Ecademy, where premier memberships give you access to monthly boardroom meetings and exclusive events nationwide.
Create a Professional Facebook Page (And Keep Your Personal Page Private)
Facebook is a great way to market your business and services for free to everyone you know. Be very strategic and responsible about what you post. Once it’s online, assume it can be there forever, accessible to anyone. Use that as your filter.
Start a Blog
If you have something valuable, interesting, useful to share, build a blog for free via WordPress or Blogspot. This isn’t just for aspiring writers, political pundits or artists. Anyone from teachers to corporate workers can write consulting tips or thoughts on a particular industry. It’s a fabulous way to showcase a niche expertise.
Reach Out to Bloggers
Find people who run or work on sites that target your business/industry. Comment on their articles, ask them questions and provide valuable tips. Build a connection then ask if they could promote your blog.
Follow Interesting People in Your Industry on Twitter, Facebook
It’s incredible how a series of 140 character comments and dialogue can evolve into full conversations and even email, phone, Skype or offline relationships. Watch out for when the more high profile ones talk about local tweetups or meet ups. Seize the opportunity to meet them in person.
Make Online Professional Networking Part of Your Business Routine
Don’t build that basic profile page then abandon it and forget the password. Constantly update your profiles or blogs and take the initiative to make connections. Consider online networking as part of your daily or weekly business operations, just as important as paying your company’s bills and balancing its books.
Don’t Forget About Face Time
Stronger business bonds are also formed when there is face-to-face contact, which is why industry events and career fairs are still imperative. “Many people make the error of selecting one or another – offline or online networking,” says Jennifer Kushell, author of Secrets of the Young and Successful and founder of YSN (Your Success Network). “When you can play in both worlds, build your reputation and relationships both with solid personal face to face connections as well as online with 24/7 updates, texts, tweets, emails, chats … you bond faster.”