The size and quality of your professional network is often claimed as the single biggest factor in determining how successful your career will be.
What’s strange, then, is that, other than plonking up a bog-standard website and occasionally handing out a few business cards, most people put little effort into actually building one.
Put these four methods into practice today and build an online network that any professional at the peak of their career would be proud of.
1. LinkedIn Groups
Having a LinkedIn page is a must for any professional today. But if you want to get noticed and become a thought leader in your space, then being an active member and even moderator in a LinkedIn group is just as essential.
Groups can be local and/or industry based and contain anything from five to hundreds of thousands of members. You can use them to send messages and invitations to a large audience for free, keep up to date with the latest from your industry and key people in it, to share your ideas, get invaluable feedback, and, of course, build an online network.
2. Community Networking
Building a strong online network doesn’t have to start online. And, in fact, many of the most impactful and longest lasting relationships start offline and then move into the digital world.
Local events, workshops, courses, conferences, talks, meet-ups — there are innumerable opportunities for networking offline today. The key to doing it well is focusing on connecting with people at higher levels or in lateral positions that may be able to support you now or in the future, and thinking not what they can do for you, but finding something you can do for them.
3. Share, share, share
As the internet has become so crowded with voices and information, you only really become aware of someone if they shout loud and have something really important and resonating to say.
Not to mention we’re also in the age of authenticity; a time when sales gimmicks and rhetoric no longer work and people only react to real sincerity and honesty. Both of these conditions mean that today, heart-felt content and publishing on as many platforms and social media sites as possible is essential to build an online network.
4. Tag and mention others
You know to be on social media and to be frequently sharing high-quality, original content. But if you want to get it in front of the eyes of industry leaders and build an online network fast, you’ve got to tag and mention like a mad person.
You can do this by latching on to industry-specific hashtags or topical events and by directly mentioning someone you want to connect with in your posts. The key is to remember that if you offer them something that’s relevant and full of value, they’re much more likely to check you out and even return the favour.