I love to connect with smart people online. You might say I love the social part of social media most of all. I’ve been able to connect with doctors, lawyers, best selling authors, investment bankers, leadership experts, CEOs, and more – all because of the Internet and social media.
It’s obviously not just me – it’s everyone, from every walk of life. How can you effectively network online?
For a change, rather than just share my thoughts and experiences on how to network online, I asked some of the most connected people I know what their tips were for networking online, and they gave me some fantastic insights that I’m now sharing with you.
Remember that online is a tool. It does not replace human-to-human connections. Treat your online connections the same as you would when you reach out in person. Be respectful of others time and do not jump in and assume that a “like”, “link”, “share” or “follow” means a real friendship. Nobody (well, almost nobody) would ring a strangers doorbell and hand them flyers and ask them to go pass them out to their friends and neighbors…. so do not do the equivalent online. Build a relationship before assuming the right to ask for favors. – Thom Singer
Everything Thom said (above). Also be willing to help others out if you can. Don’t expect other people to make connections for you if you won’t do the same for them. Also avoid obvious template communication. Also avoid using the word also too much. – Judson Laipply
Check out mutual friends/followers… it is a small world! Reconnect to people you REALLY ACTUALLY LEGITIMATELY know. – Jessica Pettitt
Don’t play the numbers game. The number of followers you have is less important than the depth of your interactions. When in doubt, reach out to your existing followers and turn them into raving fans. Be real, be human, be helpful. – Sierra Modro
Keep your online and in-person connectivity congruent. Regularly reach out online to people you meet in person, and look for ways to attend events and meet people that you connect with online. The idea is relationship building; the online tools are simply additional vehicles that must be used in ways congruent with your brand and your personality. – Joe Turner
Know your purpose (e.g. I incite, inform and inspire conversations around the food plate). Build a community by serving as a resource – long before you need them. – Michele Payn-Knoper
Be interested in them, their work, their message. Find ways to share their ideas and connect them to people or ideas they might want to know. (Really, this is no different from real life – just uses a different tool.) Pay attention to the tone of online interactions – pretend you are saying it in real life, surrounded by a group of friends and family. If you wouldn’t say it out loud publicly, don’t write it. – David Dye
People like to laugh and be entertained (even when communicating online) – so keep at least some of your communications light-hearted and upbeat. – Brian Udermann
Compliment others. If something they wrote made you laugh, tell them. If you think an idea or insight they shared is brilliant, say so. If they inspired you, let them know. – Don Cooper
Following on what David Dye said (above), I’d put an exclamation point behind “pay attention.” You investing a piece of your time and attention online is the same as investing a stamp and some time offline to reach out and touch someone. It starts in the heart. – Roger Courville
Be authentic – in all you say and do. Only take the tips above that are truly you. – Holly Duckworth
Follow Phil, and do what he says. – Eliz Greene (Note from Phil: She said this without any prodding or payment from me.)
And my bonus tip: Ask people you like and respect to participate in your work online as much as you can, and showcase them for the smart people they are. You’ll get something better than if you did it yourself, AND you’ll introduce them to new audiences and new people that otherwise might have never known who they are or what they did. This is a win win win for everyone involved!
YOUR TURN: What’s YOUR best tip to network online?