So how do you break out and build real relationships online? We’ve started a list of ideas below, but the basic principle is simple: Whether virtual or in person, you get out of networking what you put into it. If all you’re doing is clicking buttons, don’t be surprised that you’re not getting calls.
Anyway, here are some ideas that can help your network work harder—and feel free to add more below:
Make a plan. Figure out what you want out of your network. Then separate your connections into two camps. Those who can help you reach your goals are in your network, the others are simply friends. Don’t neglect the latter, but concentrate on the former.
Communicate one-on-one. Posting in your feed or clicking a like button is fine. But remember, you get out of networking what you put into it. When someone in your network gets a promotion, why not send a thoughtful note that shows you are paying attention to their career?
Make your connections more than professional. Reading what Reid has to say about the PayPal alumni, it becomes clear that getting together helped turn colleagues into friends. If you’re just a connection, people will hire you for your skills. But if you’re a friend, they will find and create opportunities for you if they can.
Don’t just connect with people, connect people. Networking is not a one-way or even two-way street. Actively think about things that can help your connections and reach out to them if you see an opportunity. They’ll do the same for you.
Stay persistent. Even if people don’t respond, don’t get discouraged. Networking is work, after all, and you have to realize that not everyone is going to answer your requests immediately.
By Shane Atchison