Five plus years into online networking I am continually amazed by the apparent randomness with which most people go about building their networks.
Answer the following questions and you’ll see what I mean.
- Does it really make sense to you to heed Facebook’s friend suggestions? (Facebook is not that smart!)
- Are you truly comfortable connecting with someone with no face and half a bio?
- Don’t you want to know WHY someone wants to connect with you, beyond the generic “I’d like to add you as a trusted member of my network?”
- Wouldn’t it make more sense to have 200 targeted connections who know you, like you, trust you and will refer business leads to you, than 2000 tepid unknowns that are there to build your numbers?
- Does asking random people you know to “like” your page, even though they aren’t your target market and would do this just to be nice, add up to business?
Okay, now in case you didn’t answer the above correctly, let me share just five simple tips to rock your online networking to a place of business building instead of time wasting.
#1 Lead with your FACE
On every network, lead with a current, recognizable FACE image of yourself with a SMILE. Research has shown that people with smiling pictures get 3x as many opportunities to connect and their invitations are infinitely more likely to be accepted.
#2 Complete your BIO
Be concise, use language that your market will know, don’t get stuck in industry jargon. Your bio is meant to share quickly and easily, WHO you are, WHAT you do, WHO you do it for or with, and WHY you do it (the results.) Be benefit based, not feature focused.
#3 Know your INFLUENCERS
Establish the key criteria for those who have access to your market and can provide you with targeted leads. Connecting to build numbers is a waste of time, even if it does impress strangers (they are strangers, do you really care?) Reach out to your influencers, they are the one’s who can bring your market to you.
#4 Make every invite PERSONAL
Every invite you send whether on LinkedIn or Facebook or any other network, has the option of adding a personal message. Never send an invite without using this powerful real estate. The personal message must indicate how you know this person or how you found them, why you want to connect, and what you can do for them. Lead with establishing reciprocity. When you give to them first or offer to serve and support their success, they are a lot more likely to be interested in turning around and doing the same for you.
#5 Follow up with THANK YOU
Once your invitation is accepted, for goodness sake, follow up with thank you. Thank that person for connecting and reiterate what you can provide to serve and support their success. Be interested in what they are currently working on or even a recent vacation they may have taken. Leverage this opening to show them genuinely that they can know, like, and trust you and you are a dependable and valuable connection. (By the way, almost no one ever does this, you will be light years ahead.)
Hey, talk to me and let me know if you are using these techniques and how effective they are.
Is your network growing your net worth or proving to be a time waster and worth less? It’s a choice.
If you’ve got any tips you’d like to share, please do it here in comments.