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5 Strategies for Effective Online Networking

In the modern world, it seems like everything is moving to the online world and industries all over the globe are going with this flow. The world is much more digital now and especially during this pandemic and with social distancing accompanying this pandemic we have been limited in our options to network with each other. But the number of doors closed by this pandemic pale in comparison to the number of new ways of networking that have opened up thanks to technology. 

Yes, these virtual networking options are not as organic as meeting other people in person and network with them over a cup of coffee. But we need to utilize these networking options available online in order to keep up with the trend and not be left behind in an industry continuously progressing to better and better technologies. 

Networking is still the backbone of a professional’s career and has a major effect on our professional growth. We cannot progress in our careers without making new connections and you can find a multitude of options online for this purpose. But it must be remembered that online networking should be done alongside offline networking and not instead of offline networking. Offline networking still has many merits and holds importance today. Offline networking will allow you to create a much stronger bond so use online networking in conjunction with offline networking instead of only doing online networking.

So, to help you in networking in the online world we have compiled a list of 5 strategies for effective online networking. If you utilize these strategies, they might help you up your networking game.

Utilize LinkedIn

For networking, LinkedIn is the best platform out there. It is known to be the best social media platform for professionals and you will be able to meet a multitude of like-minded individuals on it. It is simple to use and is also widely used by the professional sector. Just create your profile and fill it up with information about who you are, what you do, and anything else you want to deliver to potential contacts. Once you have created a good profile you are ready to go and meet other professionals of interest.

Try to avoid sending one pre-written invitation to every potential contact instead try to make your invitation seem more personal. A personalized invitation has a higher chance of getting the attention of a reader and be accepted than a non-personalized one. This will allow you to build a better connection when networking and will only take you a few more minutes. Be detail-oriented when writing the invitation message to your contact by introducing yourself and explaining what common interests connect you with them. Tell them what you seek to achieve by connecting with them. 

Another important thing you can do to help you network with other individuals of interest on LinkedIn is to be an active participant in groups related to your industry. You can do this by being an active member of those groups, share interesting and informative content, and answering questions of other participants. LinkedIn is a very good platform for you to use for networking. You will find many like-minded professionals on this platform.

Do Not Limit Yourself to LinkedIn

Yes, LinkedIn is a good online networking platform but it is foolish to put all your effort into just one platform. LinkedIn is a huge platform which is a good thing but it also means that it is much harder to distinguish yourself there. Once you have gotten started on LinkedIn find other platforms for networking instead of focusing on just one. Now you might be wondering which other platform is suitable for your needs. This is where you will have to do your own research and find platforms that are suitable for you. Find out which online platforms your targeted audience hangs out at. Look into large social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook or find appropriate online industry forums. Do your research and find the best fit for yourself. Once you have found an online platform that suits your needs then take your time getting yourself familiarized with its culture before starting networking on it. This way you will fit better in those platforms and attract more attention.

Focus On Your Present Contacts

Do not focus only on making new contacts continuously while paying less attention than needed to your existing contacts. It is not a good idea to continuously be in pursuit of new contacts without deepening your connection with your existing contacts. It does not matter if you have not been in touch with your contacts lately. All you need to do is simply reconnect with them. You can reconnect with them by sending them a message or commenting on their posts on social media etc. There is a multitude of ways to reconnect with them. Try to achieve a balance where you are paying enough attention to your existing contacts and also acquiring new contacts.

Participate in Online Conferences and Virtual Events

Online conferences and virtual events are very good places for networking with like-minded individuals. An online event with a professional audience is similar to a traditional event where you go and network with people. These events provide an excellent environment for networking and bring you many networking opportunities. Try to attend smaller events where you can have a higher chance of standing out. Be engaging and active as doing so will not only allow you to learn from the online conference or virtual event but also attract potential contacts. You can find events targeting almost all types of professional audiences. If you are unable to find an event that suits you then host and organize an event yourself. Hosting an event is even more beneficial in terms of networking and it is not as hard as you might think.

Give More Then You Take

You might have heard the saying “What goes around comes around”. Do favors to others as it will allow you to build stronger relationships and it will benefit you in the long run. You can do this in many ways such as by introducing a member in your network to another member, recommending your connections, or by featuring your members, etc. there are many other ways you can do a favor for others. Doing so will make you feel better about yourself and will allow you to reap the rewards later on.

Follow these strategies and start to build and growth your professional online network.

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