Online networking websites allow you to connect
Networking via the Internet has mushroomed in recent years with the explosive growth of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Online networking websites allow you to connect with networkers in specific companies, professions, geographic areas and group affiliations like alumni groups. – This is why OWDT works with clients to leverage the best in website design and functionality with the added marketing benefits of Twitter and Facebook pages.
Currently, LinkedIn is the most widely used professional internet networking site. (As of 2013, LinkedIn has approximately 225 million registered users, spanning 150 industries, in more than 200 countries and territories). So, join LinkedIn, if you haven’t already, and create a professional profile carefully crafted to highlight both your professional credibility and that of your business. In fact, this profile functions as your online resume and is a great opportunity to promote your organization!
Those familiar with navigating LinkedIn often find that it is by far the shortest path to locating a person, for example, a technical manager in a specific company they’ve targeted for new business, who may be only two or three “intermediaries” away from their own network.
Additional advantages of online networking:
- There are thousands of online groups and various forums where you can leverage shared interests to expand your network.
- You can directly contact someone who may be a gatekeeper for your next big contract.
- You can choose to gather information or to directly engage others, as you wish, all from the comfort of your office.
Your email address and screen name(s) should be professional. Be sure to include a signature block on each email with all your contact information so potential clients can easily reach you.
Potential downside of social media networking
Whatever you or anyone else has written about you – or your business – on the Internet will affect your bottom line. That information may give you added credibility – or be inaccurate, incomplete, perhaps even fabricated by someone who for some reason is targeting you. If you have been ‘libeled’ in this way, there are IT professionals who specialize in deleting such disinformation. Because your online information is instantly available to anyone doing a search, it’s wise to periodically “Google” your name to see what’s there.
Also, be aware that:
- It usually takes longer to gain the trust of an on-line business contact than someone you meet face-to-face.
- First impressions count just as much, if not more, than direct contact. Be attentive to the quality of all your public postings. Make sure your messages are professional in all respects: carefully edited, respectful, and to-the-point.
- On-line behavior matters more than many realize. When communicating with others in real time, honor the ‘rules of the road.’