4 Tips for Digital Relationship Building
Oh, networking. It goes hand in hand with doing business. Thanks to the internet, we’ve been able to open channels of communication and connect with each other like never before.
Not only do we have access to pretty much infinite information, but also a wide variety of tools designed for relationship and community building.
Quality networking, while a bit less awkward to do online rather than in person, is something that can enrich both your life and career if done right — and approached authentically.
Propel your Peers
There’s no better segue into a positive conversation than a compliment! Take what you admire about someone and turn it into an charming ice breaker.
The good news is, that it’s particularly easy to do online via e-mail, comments, tweets or whatever platform makes the most sense. On the flip side, it’s not a bad idea to take a hard look at your own social media content and consider your output. Do you post about yourself, your accomplishments, your personal interests almost exclusively?
Always remember: posting has power. Think about repositioning your content to also propel your peers successes and be a source of relevant information, while still being you, of course.
Post in a positive manner about news stories related to your industry, share professional opportunities for people in your field, or simply give props to someone you admire when they achieve a new success.
Creating an information-rich social media presence can give your “personal brand” a boost and also kickstart great conversations with others.
Voilà, you’re networking!
Be an Expert
Don’t be afraid to show off your smarts when it’s appropriate. You’re great at what you do, and using your skills to help people outside of your 9-5 is good for the soul — not to mention a great way to network!
Seek out online communities or groups associated with your field and put your knowledge to work by helping people solve problems, giving solicited advice or simply talking tools of the trade with like-minded individuals.
Additionally, volunteering your skills (in real life) to help out non-profits, artists and more can result in some amazing networking opportunities and great resume building.
Be present. Be responsive. Be outgoing. The digital world is a vast sea of opportunity for interaction — take full advantage!
Networking is as easy as creating positive dialogue around content that other people put out into the world. Engaging in conversation on subject matter that’s relevant to your career goals can help build relationships with like-minded people at all levels. Not only that, but it helps keep you informed on what’s happening within industry circles in general.
Comments, likes, follows and more are all easy and fun ways to connect and engage.
Take it Offline
Last, but certainly not least, be prepared to take your newly built relationships offline when it makes sense to do so.
It can’t hurt to ask for a coffee chat or lunch with someone you want to get to know better — just make sure you aren’t wasting their time or yours.
It’s good to remember that people in leadership and power positions are quite busy, so chose your asks wisely and communicate a legitimate reason why you’d like to meet up. Simply saying “I’d love to pick your brain” is often a major turn off — it translates as “You don’t really know me, but will you give me some free expert advice? I’m lazy.”
Instead, find something specific to discuss and frame it in a thoughtful, complimentary way, such as “I’ve always admired your amazing work with XYZ, I was hoping I could buy you lunch so I could learn a bit more about your experiences. I’m just getting started doing XYZ and would love to have you take a look at what I’ve done so far and give me your opinion. Perhaps there’s a way we could collaborate in the future!”