The key to making online networking (or social media networking) work for you is so simple. I’m an introvert and this can work well for us.
It may seem obvious at first, yet most people using social media for business networking are not doing this.
Both introverts and extroverts are skipping this simple step but it works well for both.
The key is to connect your online and offline networking. Don’t just chat on the web and expect results from that alone. Likewise, don’t just show up at events and expect results from that alone.
Mix and match.
I know, you might have objections or nervousness about this at first, but I’ll explain how it can be simple. It can feel easy because it’s about following your natural instincts.
Let’s Get Specific
If you meet someone online that you resonate with, take the connection a step further by inviting them to tea (could be tea over a video call). Conversely, if you meet them offline somewhere and resonate with the connection, continue the connection online (via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever works in your case).
Really, it’s that simple. A little time-consuming, yes. Complicated, no. The extra time to go deep with a few people you like is worth the time.
If you want to be remembered, you need to keep communications open in a friendly, non-pushy way. Online visibility makes that easy.
If you’ve stayed in touch, who they gonna call? You. One time I met someone at an event and then we stay connected over social media, and then over a year later, when she wanted to hire a business coach, she remembered me because we were still connected.
Recently I spoke on a panel about “Social Media Case Studies.” All of us had stories that emphasized the importance of connecting online and offline networking.
It was working for all of us – extroverts and introverts. Introverts especially appreciate the part about going deeper with the conversations.
Sample Story of Online to Real World Connection
True story. I responded to a question in an email listserv for local solopreneurs, in the spirit of being helpful. Only took a few minutes and it was about simply following my instincts.
I noticed someone added an interesting comment after mine, so I checked out his website and his work resonated for me.
Following my natural instinct to continue the conversation, I emailed him, suggesting we meet for tea. No sales pitch in mind, just to get acquainted with his work. He said he was about to contact me too, and agreed to meet. We met over lunch, and he became one of my most important business contacts.
We referred business back and forth and he was an important mentor for my early days in business. None of that would have happened if I hadn’t taken that extra step to meet up one-to-one.
What’s Your Networking Style?
I realize I’m the kind of person who usually enjoys meeting people for tea or over a video chat, if I have a good feeling about the person. So that system works for me.
What’s your style? If nothing comes to mind right away, think about it, find your style.
Some of the related posts below might help. If you hate social media, you’ll appreciate this one: Social Media Is NOT a Must for Solopreneurs.
There is a way to make networking fun and manageable for any personality style, even for introverts. Making it fun for introverts is one of my favorite topics. Let’s chat in the comments section below.