When the topic of online business networks comes to the table, there are always people who say: “These networks don’t work, I haven’t got any customer via LinkedIn.” Or “Why doesn’t anybody offer me a job. My profile states that I’m open for a new one.”
And then you see other people nod their head affirming what was just said.
But when I ask them to how many people they have reached out to themselves, how many people they have contacted to buy something from them or how many people they offered a job, they all remain silent.
Some even say: “I don’t have time to do that!”
That’s OK. But don’t expect other people to take the actions you won’t do yourself!
Besides do they really call themselves a “member”?
In my opinion they are not a member, they just have a profile.
Let’s compare it with a membership of an organisation. What do members do?
– They interact with other members. They listen to others and they answer questions about themselves. In this way they get to know each other and increase their KNOW-factor.
– They help the other members by giving them tips and connecting them with other members or with people from outside the organisation. And they do that without expecting anything in return. In this way they “add points” to their LIKE-factor.
– They help the organisation through volunteering and sharing their own knowledge and expertise. In this way the TRUST-factor increases.
If you only pay a membership fee, but never show up, nothing much will happen.
And even if you show up, but remain seated on a chair in a corner, also not much will happen either.
The same kind of dynamics apply to online networking. So here are some tips:
1) Making your profile is the first step.
2) Put enough information in your profile so that other people can find you and notice you, even if you are not proactive yourself.
3) Reach out to people. Start conversations.
4) Join groups and forums and bee active in them. Answer questions and post your own questions. Help people and give them the opportunity to help you.
5) Connect people with each other. When you think it would be beneficial for two people to know each other, be proactive and introduce them to each other.
6) Answer questions in your field of expertise to develop your image as an expert in your field.
By doing these actions you will create more visibility and credibility. Your Know, Like and Trust Factor will increase.
And what will happen next is probably not what you think that might happen: that the people you interact with become your customer or offer you a job. They probably won’t. But what they will do, is talk about you to their network, resulting in many more customers or job offers.
Online networking, just like “normal” networking, takes some time, but after the initial investment period it will bring much larger benefits in the long run.
Have a great networking day !