“Just talking to people is networking – getting out and socializing, meeting new people and expanding your social groups is networking.”
The Three Secrets to Great Networking
I had read so many articles and books about social media. They all talked about when to share your content, how to share your content, how to get more followers, or what to say in your copy of a social update. All of them did not once mention that social media is for socializing, or better known in the business world as networking.
I never put the two together.
Networking was what you did at conferences. And sharing content was what you did on social media. This was my view of how business was done in the modern age.
But you know what? It is no different now than it was 20 years ago before the Internet.
People are still people. Business is still business. And networking for business is still just getting out there and talking to people. The only difference now are the tools. We now have this beautiful yet massive social media system.
Yes, there are so many social media platforms that any newbie online can literally feel like she is getting sucked into this vortex of updates and pages and likes and shares. It can surely be confusing.
Yet, after reading Alan’s book and especially that simple sentence above my social media vortex closed and I knew which direction to surely head.
I was going to socialize. Sure, I’ll still share my articles, articles of other sites and even my photos. But more importantly I was going to talk to people. Literally have conversations in those small areas called the “comment section.”
How to Network on Social Media
How do you start to actually network on social media? The answer is quite simple, you start looking for people like you. People that share your passion for making the best jewelry. Or love accounting just as much as you do. Or even people that simply share your same lifestyle like single dads or working moms or young entrepreneurs. Find a common bond that you both are excited about.
Next, start following, circling or friending these people. Don’t worry if they don’t respond or outright turn you down, there are many others.
Now is the fun part, get to know them. Read their bios, posts and updates. And then the magic happens, converse with them.
The Best Social Media Platforms for Networking
No surprises here, these are what I consider the top 3 social media sites (at least they’re the top at the moment) for conversation and networking:
Though many are still wondering if they should migrate to Google Plus, I say try it out.
I believe it is the top platform for conversation with people in your niche and with your interests.
Google Plus makes conversation very simple. When you share an update you simply mention the person you want to draw attention to by placing a “+” in front of their name. This notifies him or her that someone has tagged them and would like them to take notice. Of course, it is up to the person to respond. If he or she does, let the conversation begin.
Google Plus has also integrated a wonderful feature called “hangouts”. This is when you and 9 other people get to actually meet virtually for discussion. They can be private or open to the public. Who says networking needs to take place in cafes or conferences, hangouts work great.
One cannot ignore this very powerful platform that literally was set up for networking.
For any professional and business minded individual LinkedIn is where to be.
Start out by making sure your profile is equipped with a great image of you and describes your business. List as much detail as needed as to attract people to network with you. Use keywords that are frequent in your industry. And welcome people in your profile.
Once you have a powerful profile start searching for people in your industry, alumni you may know, people in your contacts or even simply people you know already know from previous interactions. Ask them to connect with you. Once you have connected check out their profiles in depth. Who are they linked to? Would you or your business benefit from linking with that person also? What groups do they belong to? Industry groups are great places to have in depth conversation.
Linking up and growing your network is key to connecting and helping you and your business grow.
As you get to know who is in your network, feel free to recommend them or write a nice experience you had with that person. This only helps to create stronger bonds between you two.
Facebook is social media defined. Everyone is social on Facebook. There is a lot of sharing and liking and talking going on.
But is it good for business? Is it a good platform for networking?
Of course, it is just a little harder because people on Facebook are looking for fun not serious business.
So when you network make it fun. Make it interesting and cool.
The best place to network is your own page. The people that follow you are your fans. They like what you like. Talk to them and make them feel at home on your page. Find out how both parties can benefit from a relationship that is started virtually.
Social Media for Socializing, Who Would Have Thought?
In the world of sharing, following, liking and circling, we have been caught up in the idea that social media is simply a place to bombard people with our blog posts and funny updates. This is not true. Social media is for being social.
Conversation and networking do have a place on social media, you just need to know how to do it.
Like Alan said, simply get out there, talk and expand your networks.