7 Online Tools to Supercharge Your Networking
Partnerships and joint ventures are a powerful tool in a business’ arsenal. Finding synergies across companies means a win-win situation for the players.
With the advent of social media, finding connections and building relationships is becoming easier. So what tools can we use to make our search more efficient and quicker?
The first is Email. Nothing beats its power. It’s ubiquitous and almost everyone has an email address now.
It’s also a great way to connect with someone without interrupting their life. They can respond to you at their convenience.
Use email to reach out to people for the first time. It’s an initial connection tool.
2: Instant Messenger
Instant is awesome, instant messenger is awesomer.
I love instant messenger because it lets me to talk to multiple people at once. It’s great for keeping in touch with people as I work, read, or watch TV.
Have a quick question? You’ll probably get an answer if you ask me on IM. Bypass the pleasantries and chat when you can. The ease of interacting on Instant Messenger is what makes it so attractive.
It’s useful for meeting new people because you’re able to create an open account where you share your thoughts. It’s nice because people can DM you to talk in private and build the relationship.
I like Twitter because it makes keeping in touch with people easy. As I share links and tell people what I’m doing, chances are someone I know will reply or comment on my updates.
Also, it helps me identify people that I want to reach out to. Someone keeps replying to my tweets? Retweeting me? Commenting on what I say? This is someone I’ll want to keep in touch with.
Use private messages or write on people’s public walls to keep in touch with people. With the rumors of a possible “email client” Facebook might become a true networking monster.
Business owners should watch their Facebook fan pages for potential fans to befriend. Is someone continually sharing your status updates? Leaving meaningful comments? Introducing their friends? That’s your brand evangelist, someone you want to take care of.
(I’m including LinkedIn, MySpace, etc, etc here as social networking. They’re all great tools for meeting and maintaining new connections.)
Most people don’t consider forums to be a networking tool. But, if you’re active enough a forum can become a great networking opportunity.
A forum is no more than a group of people interested in a specific topic. Find a forum that is related to your niche and you’e got a huge group of people interested in what you do. It’s from this community that you’re able to identify people to network with.
Use private messages to connect with others. Forums are Web 1.0′s version of social networks, but are still a very effective way to find new people.
Another often overlooked networking opportunity is blog comments. Leaving smart, well-thought out comments can be an extremely powerful way to connect with other bloggers. Bloggers notice frequent commenters and recognize their importance to the blog.
Sharing your insights, thoughts, and ideas is a great way to start a relationship. I personally reach out to frequent commenters and get great ideas from them. I also tend to invite them to try new resources I’ve put together or ebooks I’m writing.
Most bloggers recognize their community leaders and work hard to build relationships with them.
7: Your Blog
Finally, why aren’t you using your blog to network? It’s one of the most powerful networking tools available to you.
As an active blogger, you should be able to identify your own industry leaders. Reach out to these leaders and invite them to your blog, share your articles with them, interview them, and write about them. These are all great ways to break the ice and get that initial contact.
You don’t always have to reach out to people, you should also make it easy for people to contact you. Create a “Contact” page with all you information. Don’t want to be spammed? Instead of sharing your email address, use a contact form.
Let your website be your hub for getting in touch with you. Use it to convince people that they should want to network with you.
Online marketing is not only social media, branding, and search engine optimizations. It’s going beyond these tactics and strategies, to really being part of your niche and industry.
Find a way to bring smart people together, connect with them, and surround yourself with success. Use online tools to do it effectively and efficiently. If you do this, the opportunities can be endless.
How are you networking with people online? Do you have a success story where you made a friend online? Leave a comment, share you story, and let’s all connect.