Lesson 1. Using Digital Environments for Networking
- When we reach out to other people, we must be very careful about how we come across, no matter how good our intentions are.
- It’s always about them and it’s never about you. You must tap into what you have to say that will move them (How will they benefit?)
- Do your homework. Do the background research. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to research a company you want to network with. It is more impressive to reach out in a thoughtful and personalised way.
- Be the best version of you (not the best version of the person you think they want you to be).
- You’re always networking.
There are people out there who can help you to go further and faster than you can on your own, and if you do it correctly, there will also be people out there who can benefit from networking with you.
- DIGITAL NETWORKING
Digital networking in social business is the process or action of interacting with others to develop professional contacts and to exchange information through online communication channels. For business purposes, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular sites.
Effective digital networking can provide a wealth of opportunities all enabled through building meaningful relationships online, from opportunities for personal and professional development to commercial success. By taking full advantage of the networking opportunities online, it is possible to build, support and manage the relationships which could lead to greater opportunities and greater scale. Digital networking can essentially lead to more learning, more growth and greater success.
Social entrepreneurs would benefit from devising a digital networking strategy to build a broad online network. This involves setting goals, listing individuals who are important and then reaching out to people, following and learning about them online. The more you comment on or retweet their posts, the closer you may get to getting to know them personally.
Attending online events is another method of developing a company’s online network, particularly smaller events as they offer a greater opportunity to participate in the conversation and become visible. This opens up the opportunity to follow-up with other attendees later by sending a connection request and starting a conversation. Similarly, hosting an online event can have a positive impact on expanding networks. It is vital that the information provided at such events or posted on a professional networking site is beneficial in some way to the audience: consider what value the content you provide has for the audience – what will they gain from reading or listening to your content? Sharing meaningful, relevant content on LinkedIn means others will view your company as a knowledge resource, and a partner, and in the future, when the trust has been built up, they will come to your company for business. Watch the video clip case study regarding this point. Aha! Case Study | LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
Furthermore, digital tools available on digital environments such as LinkedIn and Twitter provide analytical tools (LinkedIn’s Alumni Insights and Twitter’s Follower Analysis Tool) so users can analyse their networks to build information on the types of people they are interacting with, as well as those they aren’t. This helps give insight into potential gaps in their network and where and how these gaps can be filled to align with their career and personal goals.
|Benefits of digital networking
|Challenges of digital networking
|Possible to connect with useful contacts worldwide – location is no longer a barrier to forming relationships with people from a wide range of diverse backgrounds.
|It can be time-consuming.
|Possible to join relevant forums, groups and communities and engage in discussions and receive and offer support which could establish status as an expert in the field, thus building a reputation and expanding contacts.
|Understanding the audience and keeping them engaged by creating relevant and beneficial content.