In today’s digital world networking online is just as important or even more important than networking in person. Social media is like a never-ending networking event. But before you start sending messages and friend requests there are a couple of important considerations you should keep in mind.
For starters, you need to make sure that your profiles are in tip-top shape. For most professionals, this includes LinkedIn, and potentially Facebook and Twitter. The right social media accounts will really depend on the industry you are in. For example, those working in creative industries might need to focus more intently on developing their presence on Instagram and/or Pinterest.
Once you know the platforms that are most important for you, you should make sure you have all of the key components completed including your headshot, education, and experience plus relevant accolades and interests. This will help ensure that people quickly recognize you, understand your background, professional objectives, and see the value that you would bring to a team.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your experience or expertise in an area is by sharing your knowledge. Posting relevant and interesting content is a good way to help establish you as a thought leader but consider going the extra mile and including your own takeaways or insight that can extend the thought or idea even further. Doing this will help you start the networking process even before you begin a conversation with someone.
Another thing that you should definitely be doing is by joining industry groups and discussion forums. This can help you stay up-to-date on relevant topics and events while also putting you in the same circle as others operating in this space. Contribute to these groups in a thoughtful and meaningful way. This will help facilitate further discussions that could very well lead to professional relationships and opportunities.
Beyond establishing your own profile and expertise you should surround yourself with individuals who have already achieved success in your field. Follow the experts on social media. Read what they are reading. Listen to what they have to say. You can begin to add your own voice to their posts and discussions. Make sure that you are always being intentional with your comments and contributing something meaningful and relevant. After a while, you might be able to request a formal connection if they recognize you as someone who has positively added to the conversation they will be more likely to accept.
Networking on social media is entirely different than networking in person. But both are equally important. Not only can social media be an incredible resource when it comes to developing your own expertise but it can potentially connect you to individuals you would have never had the opportunity to build a relationship with otherwise.