Network online

How to Network Online Like a Pro

Networking online opens up incredible opportunities to connect with thousands of people in your industry without leaving the comfort of your home. We are just one click away from the most inspiring leaders & celebrities. Meeting them before the Internet era would have been just a dream… However, networking online brings many new problems and creates obstacles for those who are not sure how to communicate via distance. Today we will discuss 3 wisdoms that will help you network online like a pro:

Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat

Before you start networking you need to develop a strategy that includes answering the following questions:

  1. Understand why you need to network - A re you trying to:
    • Spread the word about your company?
    • Get a new job?
    • Sell your products?
    • Find more clients for your services?
    • Build your reputation?
  2. Determine which "groups" of people might help you with this goal:
    • What professions/ industries do your key people come from?
    • Do you have any immediate connections that can lead you to your key people?
    • If you cannot think of any immediate connections, then think how you can build a bridge between you and your key person?
    • There is a saying that we are just 4 people away from each other. Think, who are those 4 people that separate you from your prospects?
  3. Find out where your target audience hangs out:
    • Where do they congregate on a regular basis?
    • What groups on LinkedIn or Facebook do they like?
    • What hash tags on Twitter do they use?
    • What organizations do they belong to?
    • If you visualize the Internet as a huge house, where would you find a roomful of these people?

What's efficient might not be effective

Often I receive letters with no greeting, or even my first name mentioned in them. These faceless messages try to sell me a product, a service, or a job. Knowing how hard it is to interact at a distance, I do not get offended, as I understand that many people do not know how to communicate online. We live in the information age where financial and personal transactions often happen quickly and free of emotional content. So resumes, inquiry letters and sales pitches get mass produced and sent every day. Many people believe that the more letters they send — the more chances for a reply. Well, I believe that what's efficient might not be effective.

When it comes to networking I strongly recommend against creating a template of an email and sending it along with your resume, sales pitch, or contract proposals to millions of people across the world. Networking is about building relationships and long-term relationships deserve special care and handling.

Therefore, make sure the person you are addressing feels very special. Show them that you know their work and you are interested in their research, or business. Don't start your pitch with "me, myself and I". Try to genuinely feel interested in that person's life and what they have to say. You can create sample parts that you can copy and paste, but the overall structure of your initial contact should be highly customized for that particular individual.

Everything triples at a distance

In my research and personal observations, distance might be more transparent than a face-to-face environment. Therefore, your energy is contagious and can create a so-called ripple effect.

Remember that everything triples at a distance. Therefore, never approach anyone online while you are feeling off balance. It will be felt through the wording of your letters and through the vibe that they give off. Think like a successful person. Champions always enhance the good that they already have. They don't focus on what they are missing or what they are bad at. They take what they've got and make it better. So before you start your networking journey, concentrate on what you've got. Write it down, feel it, put it on a postit note on your computer, so it serves as a frame of reference to any interactions you are about to create online. Conquer that distance!

Dr. Marina Kostina  |
Dr. Marina Kostina is a distance learning expert, and an online business coach. She helps small business owners to transcend distances and leverage their work online without losing personal connections with their clients. Marina is also a co-author of an Amazon Bestseller, "The Golden Climate in Distance Learning" that helps online trainers connect, engage and enjoy the online environment.