Networking for Dummies - The Online Edition
Networking is this big concept everyone keeps trying to figure out. We’ve all seen the posts and videos about the best ways, how to’s, and where to network. I’ve talked briefly about how to network in person and how my experience went before. Now I’m focusing on networking online and building my business from it. If you’re just starting on this journey, check out the tips below.
There are a ton of places to network online. These are places like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog or website, and even your email list! The reason these are all networking places is because they are all social places. You go here to socialize. You can comment. You can share different things and register your opinion on it (a.k.a. You ‘like’ it).
Places that aren’t considered networking locations are places like Pinterest, SnapChat, Instagram Stories, etc. The reason for this is they aren’t places we go to socialize. They’re places we go to either share what we’re doing during the day or to teach our audience. Sure, they can comment on your video, but these channels are more for one way interactions. They can be good for improving your existing relationships, but are difficult platforms to try creating new ones.
How To Network
Networking is scary. It’s a lot like approaching a new kid on the playground and asking to play. I find that the best way to approach the seasoned kids who run that playground is with humility and kindness. In other words, reach out to people on Twitter and start a conversation with them. Join Facebook groups comprised of people who could be potential clients and then answer their questions. Post comments on other people’s blogs and YouTube videos.
It’s all about creating relationships with the people you meet. Your goal should not be to meet people online to sell to them. Your conversations and contributions shouldn’t be “Hey, I’m Kaylee and I sell this thing you need to buy. This thing is awesome because I’m selling it.’ You should be focusing on giving more value to any person you meet, or even talk to, than you ever get from them.
Walking up to someone in real life, handing them your business card, and walking away isn’t going to do you any good. It’s actually going to do the opposite and leave your connections and potential clients with a bitter taste in their mouth. Why then would you try this method online? Establish a relationship first. Make an effort to be a good friend and valuable business connection. Then, ask if they know anyone who might be interested in you and what you have to offer. If you focus on networking the right way - both on and offline, then you will be able to network and not only gain amazing friends, but also improve your sales immensely!