After being in marketing for quite some time now, I’ve been tasked to grow many things online. As an inbound marketer you are only as good as your networking skills because that’s the only way you can build a brand online. Networking in real life has always been a big part of our professional career. But since we are now consuming so much information online it’s time to take a look into the key strengths that are required for online networking.
It has become very important that we are now able to build strong relationships with people that we have never met before or even had a real conversation with. That can be tricky! Starting off as a blogger or voter on Steemit can also be challenging because you are joining a big community and nobody knows you.
Here are the most important tips I have for introverts when it comes to networking:
- Don’t let it intimidate you. Networking should be your priority because it’s such a valuable asset.
- Network with a given mindset. Start each interaction with the intention of helping somebody. This will make sure you don’t concentrate too much on yourself and makes it easier to start a conversation.
Starting to network will have a lot of advantages:
• If you’ve got a pressing question, people you build relationships with online are usually only a couple of clicks away…and they will have the answers you’re looking for.
• If you have knowledge to share, sharing it among your online connections can both help establish you as a thought-leader and attract others who may want to network with you.
• There’s also the other side of that, where you can be on the receiving end of new knowledge, data or insights before they’re public knowledge.
• If you’re on the hunt for a new position, your network is usually the best source of opportunities.
• You can often have the best of discussions online, which often results in surfacing new ideas, collaborations and lifelong connections.
So here are my tips that I used plenty of times in the past years and can easily be used on Steemit to build a valuable network:
1. Ask people to introduce you to someone you’re not connected with
Networking is all about growing and nurturing your connections, right? You cannot just expect to
connect with people you’ve never met, and expect them to be a cornerstone of your professional network. You need to work at connecting with the right people, and keeping in touch and growing your relationship with them. That’s why it can be really handy to leverage your existing circle to reach out to others they will know. Extended connections are hugely valuable and so easy to create. Just ask person A to introduce you to person B for a simple reason and there you go. A lot of people underestimate how big your outer circle of connections can be. At some stage we all know each other somehow. The world is small. Especially when you’re online because we can be connected with people from all over the world. Use that for to your advantage!
2. Check on content they have written
Do you want to connect with somebody; do you like their content? Start following people and make sure to check up on their blog to see if there is any new content. Can you engage in a conversation underneath the post? Do you have something to say? Add value to the conversation and be nice to others to start being recognized for great communication skills.
Networking only works if you take the time to engage with others and build yourself a first nice little group of people. I usually recommend 2 things:
• Start off by building a network of 20-30 really strong and good connections. If you master your first connections, the rest will follow.
• Keep in touch with the most valuable connections. Trust me; this will come in handy when you start reaching out to further people.
3. Be identifiable.
Especially on Steemit it’s very important to use a nickname that is easy to remember. Since the platform is still in the makings and people have very limited profiles it all comes down to nicknames. So think about 2 things here:
- Is your nickname easy to remember?
- Does it stand for your expertise or personality?
4. Check out who commented on your post and upvoted you
You may get a lot of comments on your recent post but you’re not sure what to do with them, right? Engage in the conversation and say thank you. Saying thank to every single person can feel stupid but it is so important because every comment is unique and so is the person behind it. Treat people like in real life because in a normal situation you would also thank everybody not only selected people. Do you recognize people that are upvoting you on a regular basis? Make sure to keep in touch with these people too. They will soon be your first fan base. ;-)
5. Leverage the different topic groups to find people like you
Establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. By engaging in the discussions your group members have and answering questions, you show how you’re a resource.
• Grow a community of advocates. Hosting valuable, conversations is helpful to your current network. Because of the group, they will advocate for the content you share and develop a connection to your message.
• Get ideas for content. This one isn’t as obvious, but it’s huge! Get a sense of the conversations people post and questions they are asking. Use that as inspiration for your blog posts.
6. Leverage @mentions in your content or comments
To mention another user in your content, use the “@” symbol immediately followed by the user’s name in your comment or post. As a result, that user will get alerted that you mentioned them. By sharing other people’s content and mentioning them in the associated comment, the person who created the content will know that you shared it, be appreciative, and is more than likely going to return the favour if you have anything to share in the future. It will also reinforce your place as an important member of their community.
7. Give before you receive. Upvote and follow people.
In a networking situations, people expect you to ask them for help. If you turn that around and just offer some support, your networking partner will be grateful and want to return the favor. On Steemit it’s particular important because the community that we currently have is so used to nice interactions. You barely see people arguing or having long ongoing discussion. Let’s hope this will stay the way it is.
8. Use social networks
Interacting with people on Steemit is great but there are other networks that you can use to connect with people in a personal way. You can start following people on Twitter or on Facebook of you want to expand the relationship. There is nothing wrong with asking people for their twitter handle.
9. Remember to reconnect.
We’ve all had people reaching out to us after months of no contact. But starting conversations after a long time doesn’t feel right. If you start connecting closer with somebody make sure to stay in touch. There is no need to stalk that person but a comment here and there will keep the communication going.
10. Congratulate them
When somebody posts a great post or gets a lot of upvotes, send them a note to say that you are very happy for them. You can use these opportunities to catch up with people and update them about your own progress.
11. Ask their opinion
The main reason you’re building that network is to share experiences and knowledge across the group. Take advantage of your contact’s expertise and reach out when you have a need you know your contact will be able to help you. Again, you can use that conversation to enquire more information and share other thoughts and ideas. Once you start a conversation it will lead you to great insights.
12. Listen more than you talk
Ask others what they think about your opinion or your post and please make sure to listen to them when they get back to you.
We tend to talk about ourselves for about 60% of the time in real life and we do it even more on social media. (80%) Given these numbers, there is a lot of value to being a good listener.