interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts
Whether it’s online or face-to-face the purpose of networking is the same. It provides an opportunity to connect and engage with people. When you’re networking for business you focus on connecting with like-minded people and establishing relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Social Media can be an effective way for building your professional network. You can connect with people you know and even those you don’t, as most people are generally willing to connect with people they may not know, as long as there's a two-way benefit.
When it comes to using social media for building professional networks, LinkedIn is the most effective, because of its size: 450+ million users and its focus: a business to business networking site .
How to use LinkedIn for building professional networks?
Grow your connections: Setting goals are key to achieving success in any endeavour. So set yourself some LinkedIn professional networking goals. They might be as simple as:
- sending an invitation to connect with at least one new person every day
- joining and participating in relevant groups
- taking advantage of LinkedIn's People You May Know feature
When growing your connections ensure your contacts are relevant, as this will build an effective network that will attract the right information and opportunities for you.
Use the search features and connect: You can use LinkedIn to search for people, companies and so much more. You might be going to a function, considering a new supplier or wanting to locate someone you went to university with. Use the information that you can uncover on LinkedIn to build your network. For example, by following a Company Page you'll receive in your news-feed information on their products, services, employees and the people they do business with. All potential new contacts for you.
Be active and get noticed. It might seem obvious but the act of posting on social media helps establish credibility and gain new connections. So next time you're on LinkedIn: update your status, share and comment on a post or better still write your own posts or articles.
Building your professional network will be ongoing. It's also likely that you will review and update your professional networking goals as your career advances, you change companies or industries and interests. I found this article in the Sydney Morning Herald provided some useful tips on how to make the most of online networking.
If you're wanting know more information on how to use social media for building professional networks we have created an e-book including 8-tips to generate business leads on LinkedIn. Click the button below.
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