Without your network you’re nothing. In business and in careers you can’t progress without good relationships and the support of the people around you. As the old saying goes ‘It’s all about who you know’.
But what does that mean in today’s working world? In a time where mobile phones and social media reign supreme and we can have virtual relationships with people, we have never even met. It means that you need to up your game.
You might have an insanely popular Twitter, a killer Facebook page and an extremely aesthetic Instagram account but that doesn’t mean that you’re using your social media to effectively grow your network.
Here are some of our top tips for actually putting your accounts to good use.
Find someone’s preferred network
If you want to contact someone that you have never spoken to before, do your research. Find out what their favourite social media channel is. This isn’t hard. If they have a website, see where they link to on the contact page.
You should also visit all of their social media pages to see what level of participation they give to each one. For example, they may tweet every day but only post on Facebook once a month. Therefore they are much more likely to see a direct message on Twitter. Take note of whether they reply to mentions or retweets. Find out what how this person likes to communicate and act accordingly.
Add value to LinkedIn groups
Your LinkedIn profile is a great tool for networking but if you really want to make an impact then you need to get involved in groups. Groups are a great way to meet influencers and key industry players.
LinkedIn suggests groups for you to join based on the skills and experience that you have on your profile so make sure that both these things are up to date. You can also search for specific people or find groups relating to a keyword.
Once you have found an appropriate group play your part. Become a valuable asset by asking questions, joining in conversations and adding your opinion where necessary. This is a great way to strike up a conversation with new contacts.
Once you have developed a rapport with people in the group they will usually be more than happy to connect with you because they are aware of the value that you can bring to the table.
Update your pages regularly
If you want to appear active and engaged then you need to post on your own social media pages regularly. Let people know about events you will be attending, share your thoughts on industry news or highlight interesting articles.
This will help you to develop your reputation as someone in the know. Share your knowledge and experience. Raise your visibility on your network.
Know when to take it offline
A tweet here and LinkedIn message there is all well and good but expert networkers know when they need to take things offline. Nothing can replace face-to-face interactions. Set up times to meet your local connections for coffee or lunch.
For connections further afield schedule quick phone calls every so often. This will remind them that you’re not just a name on a screen. You’re an actual person.
Remember the golden rule
In the age of social media, so many people can forget the golden rule of networking, help other people. By looking for opportunities to do other people favours, you build relationships and trust. As a result, people will be more likely to help you out when the time comes. Always keep this to the forefront of your mind.