Successful networking requires a variety of interactions. Leaning too much on any one method is ineffective. Fortunately, social media can support multiple types of interactions.
Here are five ways you can use social media to drive successful networking.
1. Add value to your network.
In general, successful networking involves adding value to people. Keep that a priority as you use social media to support your networking.
This probably seems basic, but it’s the most important place to start. Think of all the ways you can add value to your network using social media.
For example, you could post links to valuable articles on your social feeds. Alternately, you could use social media respond to people’s questions and requests. You might even use social media to help foster a mentoring or coaching relationship.
Build up your areas of expertise by staying on top of current trends in your area of focus, reading industry publications, and following other experts. Identify quality sources of information and curate a feed for your network.
Keep your focus on adding value and people will value your role in their network.
For more information on building relationships through adding value, check out our eBook.
2. Be a connector.
This is part of adding value, but it’s so important I pulled it out as a separate point. Social media is a great way to help you make connections in your network.
Almost everyone knows a connector – someone who always has a referral if you have a need. Consider being that person in your network!
Write recommendations on LinkedIn to establish your relationship with your network and help them promote themselves. Make sure you understand your key contacts’ ideal targets and business goals, as well as any vendors and partners they’re looking to meet.
You can focus on making connections in certain areas, or in general.
And keep connecting people at networking events as well! If you meet someone early in the evening, keep them in mind if you meet someone else they should meet. Connecting them is a great way to add value.
3. Review your connections regularly.
It can be tempting to just leave your network to grow without review. But successful networking with social media requires you to actually know who is in your network.
Schedule a recurring reminder to review your connections. This is an opportunity to clear out people you’ve lost contact with and to re-engage people you’d like to bring back into the fold. It can be a timely reminder to reach out to someone!
As you are reviewing your connections, look for any introductions you may want to make, according to the previous section. Your network review can spark useful connections.
4. Engage your network with questions and interactions.
To keep your relationships with your connections fresh, you need to keep them engaged. Rather than just pushing content out, make sure you are interacting as well.
You can use social media to ask questions, then engage with people in the comments. You can post pictures or articles and ask for feedback. Some social media platforms allow you to create polls, which are a fun way to engage people.
Successful networking involves staying connected to your network’s interests, which is why it’s important to engage with other people’s content. Schedule time to regularly check in on your network and interact with the content people have posted.
Consider blocking out half an hour each morning to interact with your network and post your own content. You can then check back in later in the day to respond to comments and touch base with your connections’ updates again. This will keep you top-of-mind.
5. Take it offline.
Social media can be leveraged to drive successful networking, but there’s no replacement for live interaction. Make sure you make the time to take networking offline as well.
Identify events to attend and invite people in your network to come with you. Schedule one-on-one or small group meetings to connect with people at a deeper level.
By balancing social media interaction with in-person and one-on-one interactions, you’ll develop strong connections in your network.
I hope these tips are helpful as you work to leverage social media to improve your networking!
Do you have any tips for using social media to drive successful networking? Share them in the comments!
And for more best practices for successful networking like a pro, check out our eBook.