Don’t Like Networking Meetings? Network Online Instead. Part Two
As I mentioned in my previous post I’m not keen on going to Networking meetings and I’m much happier networking online. I gave some tips for networking on Facebook and Twitter before and now I will suggest some ideas using LinkedIn, Disqus, Blogs and Avatars to network. It does take commitment and patience to build your network. It doesn’t happen overnight although hopefully this will help.
Firstly ensure that your LinkedIn profile is completely updated so that it attracts people to link up with you. It is an advertisement of yourself and your business too. LinkedIn is more professional than Facebook and Twitter so mostly only business, professional and technical advice will be discussed. Build up your network with like-minded professionals and people you already know. Don’t just send an invite to link up; explain why you want to connect and you’ll find it will work better for you.
Join in Groups that are relevant to your business or even create a Group yourself and invite people to join. You can upgrade your LinkedIn profile by paying a monthly subscription and have more features which are useful for networking and linking up with other professionals.
Disqus is a way to have an online profile across several platforms. I think of it like an online business card. If you keep your details updated then every time you comment on a blog using Disqus it provides a link to your profile, shows your picture and details, previous comments and likes, and a link to your business too.
You can also install Disqus onto your blog if you have one and it provides a simple tool to get your blog seen on Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook with just one click by people reading your blog. On the Disqus website they talk about “online communities” a lot – this is your online networking.
Write your own blog giving advice on what you know best or just discussing current affairs, your views or simply what is on your mind. Blogs are easy to set up and you don’t need a domain name although this does look more professional if you have one. If your blogs are interesting and beneficial then people will recommend it and your network will grow.
Reply to comments on your own blog. It’s a discussion about what you have written after all so it’s good to chat back. If you get negative feedback then try not to fall into an argument, this can sometimes be far easier to do when it’s online than if you were face to face. Everyone has a right to an opinion and it’s often better to agree to disagree rather than fall out.
Commenting on other blogs also gets you seen and if using your Disqus profile all the better. Obviously make sense in your comments and don’t overdo it with randomness. There is a lot of spam in comments sometimes and you don’t want to appear like that. Supplying a relevant and sensible comment will hopefully attract attention to your profile and therefore your business. You’re networking online just by saying what you think.
Photo / Avatar / Gravatar
Gravatar is another useful online tool like Disqus that acts like a business card online. I use the same photo (Avatar) of myself on all Social Media sites as well as my blog, Gravatar and Disqus profile. Although as my business is just myself that makes it simple for me. It provides easy recognition for people if they are seeing me on a different site than they normally would. If you prefer to not show your own photo and use a company logo then use that across all sites too. Or incorporate both like I do but be consistent if possible.
Imagine you’re going to several networking meetings and for each one you wear a different disguise, so people you may have met before won’t recognise you straight off which would be a bit strange. Using the same avatar means you can be recognised from afar, so to speak, and that must be a good thing for networking.
I’m sure there are other social media sites that are good for networking including the new Google+ but as I haven’t used that yet I cannot give advice on it. Hopefully I will in the future.
I look forward to hearing more suggestions for networking online so please comment below.