Advice:Networking online

By , published on 4th March 2011

There is an increasing choice of places to network online, so what are the four keys to benefiting from online networks?.

  • Build profile – online networking is about YOU not the business, so mix personal information with business and remember to include a photo. People do business with people and many will want to know who you are, especially if the product or service you provide is significant to their business. Be clear about what you can offer to others and equally clear about what you need as you never know who will be able to help you.

  • Generate content – some sites allow you to add blogs and articles directly and to comment on others’ blogs. All sites will allow you to link to a blog or article that you have placed elsewhere on the web. Use them to demonstrate an understanding of your subject and to show the expertise that you and your company can bring to it.

  • Build a network – it should be obvious to all that networking is about connecting with people, though there are many who seem not to understand that. If you connect directly with many people then have at least one online conversation with them to explore areas of common interest. If there is nothing immediate, don’t discard the connection, develop it over time and build the relationship on a personal level. It is not just about business. Remember that you are building advocates, sounding boards and friends – not necessarily customers.

  • Whilst our network is not our prospect base, be open to doing business where it is possible to do so. Be tuned in to the needs that are being broadcast by others, help others selflessly and gain a reputation as someone who ‘knows how’ and ‘knows who’. Explore collaborations with others where there is a basis to do so.

Networking is not an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Networking for business has a cost and can bring a return – but the return may take time to appear. Take your time to find the right mix for you.

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Janette Whitney

About Janette Whitney

Janette Whitney is an award-winning business consultant, media columnist and award-winning business author. She specialises in business growth strategies and finance and formed her consultancy business after a highly successful career in banking. Janette’s expertise has won her both national and regional awards which include ‘Consultant of the year’ and ‘Business Book of the Year’ award (as co-author of ‘The Essential Business Guide’).

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