Networking is, in this age of technology, not even optional anymore. However as with everything else in life and work, it’s not about doing something just for the sake of doing it, and that is perhaps where the fallout begins; because how can you use the right tools if you don’t know what you want to build?
1. Set your Goal
What is it that you want to achieve? Increase customers, find new ideas, find new colleagues or friends, searching for new perspectives on a topic, among others are some good starting points. Your goal will dictate which tools you’ll need and how you’ll use them.
2. Control your Virtual Presence
The more constant your presence is, the easier you will be recognized and found when searched, and that will help you solidify your existence on the internet. Whatever your goal is, in the end what you want is to be the “go to person” in the areas you are looking to branch out into.
3. Community Work
A social network platform is not necessarily a community. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful and shouldn’t be used, but a solid community will help you with your virtual presence. Where do the people you want to network with go? What places do they visit? Where do they hang out to exchange information? Find them, join them, and be an active member. Smaller groups within larger sites works best, since they allow you to make more meaningful and less fleeting connections.
4. Approachable Professional
The right balance between professional and personal works wonders, and finding it can be tricky. Too businesslike and you might seem too stuffy or too out of the league for some of the people you are trying to network with. However, too open and laid back and you might come across as uncaring and unreliable. There is a sweet spot in the middle that allows you to seem capable and professional, but also interesting and, well, human.
With twitter and facebook and tumblr and wordpress and pinterest and flicker and… you can see where this is going. It’s easy to get too scattered and over the place, so it’s always good to reel yourself and everyone else onto your HQ, your hub of operations. A wordpress based website is great for this, since it allows easy updateable content, but at the same time offers a lot more options not available on a “simple” blog. In the end however, it’s about figuring out what works best for you to achieve your goals.