One of the greatest things about social media is that it brings people together.
There are so many people I consider friends, but have never met. We chat online, we work together, and help each other out. It’s all made possible because of the Internet.
Some of my most profitable partnerships have happened because of the networking I’ve done online.
What is Networking?
So what exactly do I mean by networking? Think about it like going to an awesome party and being the center of attention, shaking hands, making friends.
The web is a giant party. It’s easy to make friends and grow connections because most people are looking to just that. In the end it’s up to you to make it happen.
Don’t get caught in the trap of fake networking. Effective networking isn’t simply telling everyone to fan your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter.
True networking is about building a relationship. Sharing important information, chatting, and talking. It’s a time commitment, but it pays off in the long run.
The Power of a Strong Network
Those without a strong network are at a disadvantage. It doesn’t matter if your writing is amazing or your videos are awesome; if others don’t help you promote your content, no one is going to see it.
Friends read friends’ blogs. We share content that our friends’ write, and we link to our friends’ articles. It might seem unfair, but the truth is that there is so much information online, we’re forced to use a “friend” as a filter for content.
Also, building a group of colleagues in similar niches opens up the possibility of creating partnerships. Creating products together allows the leveraging of a larger community, different view points, and more content. Partnerships benefit everyone.
Finding the Right People…
Finding the right people to network with is almost an art as much as it is a science. Optimally, you’re looking for people that compliment you. Whether you have complimentary work ethics, niches, or personalities.
For instance, imagine I own a computer repair store. I probably want to look for people who sell computers. We share the same demographic but offer two different services.
Making the Connection
Don’t hesitate to reach out to people. We want to connect with you. Meeting new people is half the fun of working online.
If you write a blog, you want to build relationships with the people that comment often, those that engage you. These are your champions and it’s only fair to reward them.
Not only that, but these are your consumers. Talking to them, befriending them lets you understand what your consumers want.
Sometimes the best way to connect is through email. If you wrote something interesting you think I’ll like? Contact me.
Another idea is to invite the person you want to network with to do an interview, guest post, or some other cool project.
Regardless, the most important thing to remember is to be friendly and respect the person’s time.
Social media has given us so many more venues to connect with people. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (among others) have made it so easy to message, fan, follow, mention, and direct message people. Take advantage of this new medium to make new friends and find new partners.
If you’ve made the connection and it’s time to take it to the next level, there are few better ways than conferences. It’s here where you get to meet people face to face.
For some, online is just not enough and meeting offline allows your relationship to grow. Use these offline networking events to power your online community.
Building an online network can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. It’s great to have a group of colleagues and friends you both respect and can count on. It’s these people that will push you to succeed and champion your cause.
How are you building your network? Are you already party of one?