How to excel at online social networking and why it matters.

“Online networking is not the same!”

I hear this every week. Business owners and professionals lament that they don’t’ ever want to go back to those dark days of endless banana cake baking, fitness YouTubers and never-ending zoom calls.

However I’ve never been more in love with online neteworking. So how can I love it and others hate it with a passion?

And what do you need to do so that online newtorking and social networking deliver as much as it does for me?

For me online networking delivers;

  • New business.
  • New ideas.
  • New products and services to sell.
  • Support.
  • Fast follow up.
  • Trends to follow.
  • A chance to check I’m connected to all INsiders on all platforms (I always find one that I’m not following!)
  • Effective time management and protects my productivity (since I’m not out of the office half the day, so it’s good for profit margins too!)
  • And of course, a bigger network! And the bigger your network the more connections you have the better your reputation and brand recogntiion. (As long as you protect those!)

I could go on however I think you get the idea. It’s fast, economical, effective and makes me money, so what’s not to love?

I appreciate many love meeting people and it’s nice to chat over a cuppa, however there’s your first clue as to why networking might not be working for you.

Netowrking is not a chat. It’s not catching up with friends. Networking is a set event with a desired outcome.

When you network the first thing you need to do is ask – why am I here?
No, not some exestential question but a genuine understanding of how networking impacts your business goals and ambitions.

So 1. Why are you there? If you work for a company you will need to justify the results of your tme out of the office, so consider the time, money spent and the outcomes you expect. And remember it’s not just about new business, think of the training, advice, trends and market research you pick up too.

If you want to meet like minded business owners for a chat, do that afterwards, networking is a skill. And that’s the next thing people forget.

2. Learn networking skills, like;

  • How to start a meaningful conversation.
  • How to get out of a conversation with a jugular – that’s those that don’t come up for air and talk so much you wish you hadn’t bothered.
  • How to perfect a 60 seconds – this will do that for you within days. Click here to read more and excel at elevator pitches.
  • How to create a CTA – a call to action so that you are memorable, and people take action.
  • Networking is not a chat – it’s a mindset / skillset process that builds good quality relationships with people that happily tell people about you and become part of your marketing department. Remember as I like to say “You can’t control when someone buys however you can have a say in who they buy from.
  • How to actively listen.
  • This is just for starters, if you would like more tag me on the INsiders @mandieholgate I’m happy to guide you.

3. Looking good! Before the online event, consider the journey those digital networkers will take. They could start on a blog article you add to the chat box, what next? Where will they end up? What do you look like? Every platform you are on has to match your brand, style of commincation (at the event) and online and when working with a customer. Does it? If you need a hand add your profiles to the INsiders for feedback and ideas to improve your online presence, and yes I will advise you for free there too.

4. Groups. It’s not just at a virtual networking event consider what groups you  have joined.  What groups would sit nicely next to your sector? There’s the obvious ones like accountant and solicitors, however what about authors and travel agents? What about coach and HR (Yes if your in HR I’d love to connect!) Don’t just join and post. Join and comment on others posts, remember networking is about making other people feel heard and appreciated. You can do that online and build a great visible brand and voice that people will want to keep in touch with.

5. Don’t hide your brilliance. It’s amazing how many business owners think they’ve got nothing special to say or nothing new to add or even a story worth sharing. And in every case, I can find that story, that unique voice and help amplify it. When you know what you want to be known for, share it! Check out this graphic from my Marketing Production Line course and ask yourself how many of these tools are you consistently using? That will help you stand out from the competition and make online networking a lot easier. Imagine going to an online event and people saying, “Oh so you’re Mandie Holgate, I’ve heard so much about you.” It makes my job a lot easier, because my brand, reputation and voice have gone before me. Imagine that happening for you!

6. Get on my back! People have joined the INsiders because they saw me pretending to row on a Facebook live, I’m not kidding! I can share a video on mental health, a rant on the scumbags that take thousands from hard-working business owners like you and then blame the business owner when their training doesn’t work. Makes my blood boil, anyway I digress, the point is look for those that get traction, engagement and comments from your target audiences. Just like networking, you don’t need to speak to all the people, just engage with the right ones. And yes, tag me anytime!

7. Follow up. Oh, it’s my biggest bug bear! It’s my top hate that stops businesses from growing and benefiting from networking either online or face to face, the follow up process. Follow up with everyone you met. Everyone. You don’t know who they know. If they commented in the chat box on something you said, ask them to tell you more, offer to send them some further information/blog link/socials so you can keep in touch. A relationship can not be built if you don’t actively nurture it. And please tell me you’ve a good-looking CTA email signature, you have, right?

This is just for starters, however this is a few of the things I do to ensure that when I network online I benefit. However, the most important one is below….

I think it’s important to remember, that you’ve got to be a giver, I honestly believe givers gain. I first read about this principle many years ago from the lovely Bob Burg. Here’s a link to get to know Bob and his books – he’s a top professional and genuinely nice chap. And that’s the important thing to remember, rock up even in conversation with a smile and a care for others and you will benefit. Bob and I are testament to that!

Let me know how you get on and if you need a hand post to the INsiders, I’m here to help and I love it!

Remember that online networking should be no different to face to face networking, if it is different consider what mindset you are rocking up with? Consider what beliefs you are holding on to? Remember that mindset and emotions impact on actions and results and boom, I bet any money that’s the issue! Your belief about outcomes, your attitude to the potential and the communication are being impacted upon and thus you aren’t looking to improve your mindset and skillset in networking skills. Scary how much money gets left on the table right?

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