There are many different types of online networking business, and there are even more that use online networking as a way of marketing and promoting themselves online. So, a few tips to help you succeed with online networking cannot be a bad thing.
Don’t get a life, but pretend like you have one
The truth is that the best online networkers are online almost all of their workday and beyond. They are participants in the online community and like to create a feeling that they are the online expert in a certain area or discipline. However, they are often adept at pretending like they have a life. They are often “just in” from a meeting with a big client, or have just been out to see the most recent Tony award winning piece of crap.
The veil of lies may seem in poor taste, but this is not real life, it is online. So, there is nothing you cannot say or do (within reason and within the law). You may feel a moral obligation not to tell these naughty little porky-pies, but your competitors have no such objections or aversions. Do you really want to be the online networker who admits to spending 60 hours online every week? Do you want your contacts to feel as if they are lucky to have caught you online? Or, do you want them taking you for granted and assuming you will be online right now?
Be the Go-To guy or gal
In other words, if people have a problem or a question that is in your field, then you want to push yourself as the one they should go to in order to find an answer. One of the most powerful marketing strategies is one where the consumer comes to you. If you can convince contacts to come to you, then you will always be in the most profitable and advantageous position. If you can also foster a feeling that your advice is valid, then you put yourself in an even stronger position, as per the tip below.
Be the one that gives advice to your contacts
If you can somehow manufacture a situation where you give information to someone and they take it, you can create a very powerful influential position for yourself. There are probably lots of psychological reasons for it, but for some reason, if we take advice from one person on one subject, we are more receptive to it in the future. This is true even if the new advice has nothing to do with the old advice.
You may take advice from your dentist about which toothbrush to buy, but if he/she casually mentioned how good their car insurance company was, you would also be very receptive to what was being said. If the dentist could then tempt you into a conversation about it, you will find yourself being heavily influenced on the subject. As a networker (online or offline) you can use the same principles to sell your ideas, your brand and even your products. All you need to do is find a way of getting your target consumer to come to you for advice on something. Or, at the very least you need to find a way of forcing your advice on them to the point where they take it. Once they take the advice, you are suddenly in a very good and influential position.
Referrals are your friend when online networking
A referral is a powerful thing offline and still has a little bit of power online. It is true that online referrals are not very powerful and easily forgotten. But, as an online networker, even something that has a little bit of power is still worth it. If you can get a referral from the people who know the clients you want to contact, then it is always going to be better than online-cold-calling / cold-soliciting.
People who operate online are used to being solicited by lots of different companies, from their competitors suppliers to companies selling fake sexual stamina tablets (made up of 1% coffee powder and 99% chalk). So they are not likely to respond very well to cold-soliciting. A referral from someone they know is going to warm them up a little bit.