Online networking for business growth is the thing to do these days. But it can be time consuming. There it is best when you can condense this activity into a small period of time so you don’t get sucked into Facebook, Twitter or other distracting social media sites. Thirty minutes a day is really all you need to do a great job of boosting your network when you know how to do it.
Here are a few steps to help you cut down on networking time but still getting a lot done:
1. Work Your Connections
Keep a list of people with whom you want to build a connection then locate them on Twitter, on Facebook or on LinkedIn. Focus your activities on being in touch with these people. Check for updates from these people on a daily basis. Comment on their Facebook updates and @reply or retweet their tweets. Build up a connection with them gradually, using social media connections. In time, you’ll be able to reach out to them for introductions, to schedule a meeting or even to close a sale.
2. Post Specific Tweets and Facebook Updates
If you’re using Twitter or Facebook professionally, then post an update on either or both of these sites. Make your posts as relevant to your audience as possible. Use these sites to build your credibility. Keep the posts short and too the point. Make them informative and use links to get people back to your website or blog.
3. Make a New Friend
Try to reach out to someone new every day. When you reach out, your goal is to help by offering something of people need. Look for ways to offer value to people you know or people you don’t know. One great way to do that is through LinkedIn answers. Answer questions for people, then see if you can connect with them. You can also hop on Twitter and look through the people who are on hashtags that you also follow. See if you can connect with them. Look through your pile of business cards and see if you can find some of the people you’ve met in person on social media sites. In other words, be proactive about building your network.
4. Ping an Old Contact
Look through your old contacts and look for people that you haven’t touched base with in a while. Shoot them a quick message. If you get in the habit of doing this regularly, you’ll have a much stronger base of contacts than most people. Instead of letting your contacts die off, you’ll keep them alive and well.
5. Move Online Connections Offline
After you’ve built up some goodwill with someone online, see if you can meet them for lunch sometime. Online connections are one thing. It’s great to have a lot of online B2B connections. But in order for those connections to amount to anything, they really need to be converted into offline connections. Try to meet with someone different as often as possible. As the renowned networking expert Keith Ferazzi says: “Never eat alone.”
Doing strong online networking doesn’t have to take up your whole day. Follow these tips and in just 30 minutes a day you’ll strengthen your network, meet new people and lay a solid foundation for any kind of professional support you need.