Hey there, friends!
You know, I don’t think I ever formally announced this, but I recently joined the amazing team over at The Muse as a part-time staff writer. So, just a few days ago, I was working on this piece about old school networking methods and it really got me thinking.
There’s no doubt about it, it can be tough to completely replace the traditional “shaking hands and kissing babies” form of networking. But, technology offers tons of other great networking opportunities — and they can all be a great supplement to a firm handshake. The tools are already there, so you might as well use them!
Today, I thought I’d quickly share a few of the platforms I’ve used to make some connections and establish relationships. They’ve all been incredibly helpful and beneficial as I continue to grow my business!
Alright, this one is completely obvious. So, you knew it’d be at the top of the list. If you’re looking to grow your network online, you absolutely need to be on LinkedIn. I use it to display some recently published pieces, do research on companies I’m interested in (as well as to creep on their employees — no shame), and send personalized connection invitations to people I’d like to connect with. I’ve actually scored a few different projects and clients just through LinkedIn alone. Done right, it can be incredibly effective!
Even if you aren’t running your own business, be forewarned that prospective employers will almost always check out your profile. So, it’s important to maintain a decent and professional presence on that outlet!
Of course, there’s always etiquette you should be aware of in order to use LinkedIn appropriately. But, I’ll save that for a different post!
Twitter is another social network that has been huge for both meeting new connections and promoting by business and personal brand.
After applying for a freelance position or submitting my samples to an organization, I typically like to check out all of their social accounts. When doing this, I’ll send a tweet either directly to the organization or a contact person I found. This not only shows that I’m willing to do my research, but also opens the door for establishing a relationship with the business — before they even respond to my email!
Many of the publications I write for also look for writers that have a decent social following, as they request that you promote your own pieces. So, building and maintaining your presence on Twitter is imperative! P.S. Twitter chats are another great tool for meeting new people with similar passions and interests.
Now, this one will vary based on your career goals or your particular industry. But, I think if you’re in a creative profession (writing, design, photography, etc.), it’s important to have an online space where you can really showcase your stuff.
While this isn’t necessarily networking, having a professional space online is a great resource to send to potential clients and connections. I maintain this blog (obviously) as well as a completely separate business website (which is currently undergoing a major overhaul).
Having both of these things to pass along to different publications and organizations has been incredibly helpful!
Alright, this one might seem a little strange. After all, you might just think of Skype as a great way to chat with your old roommate who now lives across the country. However, it’s been an undeniably useful tool for me as a business owner.
I think informational interviews are great for making connections. But, unfortunately, many of the people I’d love to have informational interviews with are all over the country. Luckily, Skype allows me to still have these face-to-face meetings. Google Hangouts is great for this too!
What tools do you use to grow your network online? Am I missing anything obvious?
Until next time!