With the recent pandemic and social distancing, many networking opportunities have moved online. But how can you build rapport online and what is the etiquette for online networking? Here are five tips on networking online.
1. Create a professional profile
Before you even begin to network online, it is crucial to have a good professional profile online. Look for the social networking platforms where the people are who you want to connect with. The leading business networking platform is Linkedin. By creating a polished professional profile on this platform you will be one step closer to making meaningful connections. It is important to remember that whatever opinions you post under this profile will be seen by your next customer or competitor, therefore, ensure that it is in line with what your brand and you stand for.
2. Learn about your contact
Go through your contact’s profile and see what articles they have recently posted or what projects they have recently completed. This will help you to build a personal connection with them and build trust with them when you contact them.
3. Be polite and personable
When reaching out to your contact, it is important to be polite and personable. Ensure you start your message with a polite greeting like “Dear XX”. It is also important to use the pronoun “you” in the first sentence to ensure you focus on the person rather than on your request. This will also help to build trust with your contact. When making your request make sure to be clear about what help you would like from the contact. This will aid them to know what course of action they would like to take with your request. If you are vague about your request they may ignore it.
4. Add value
Like in any networking situation, it is important to remember to add value to the conversation. When you can give useful information to a client about a pain point they are having. Then when they are ready to purchase your name will be top of mind because of the assistance you gave them for their pain point. If you are with fellow small business owners and you are able to assist them, they may remember you and share your information with people in their network.
5. Join the conversation
If you want to make contact with someone you can comment on their feed. You could also join groups where people who have an interest in the same topics as you may be. This will help to build trust and rapport within your industry networks. Another excellent opportunity to build your network is to join a Breakfast Connect session where you have the chance to speak to small business owners from different industries and listen to informative and motivational webinars about how to grow your business.
By following these five networking tips you will be well on your way to building rapport with your clients and fellow small business owners.
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