How To Build Your Network By Being Active Online
Building a network online can seem like a straightforward task, but increasing the number of followers or connections you have doesn’t necessarily mean you’re building the best network possible. Businesses could quite easily build up a network of employees, friends, family members and competitors – but this doesn’t mean the content they are sharing is going to reach their target audience.
Target relevant people with your content
By posting content aimed at your target audiences, when you slowly begin to build your network online, they will see that the content you’re sharing is relevant to them. For example, if you are sharing content on your company’s business page on LinkedIn, ensuring all your content is on brand and consistent will show those who follow you that what you are sharing is reliable, informative content.
The same applies if you are an individual recruiter, building up your network of relevant candidates and potential clients. Try and stay away from vanity metrics when it comes to measuring the success of your network building – it’s better to have 50 relevant connections and followers than 1,000 people who will never be a potential client or candidate.
Engage with your audience
The more conversations you are involved in online, the more likely you are to build a large, collaborative network. The best way to do this is simple: engage.
Join in conversations you can see people having in your industry, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter or otherwise. The more comments you leave on posts (particularly if you’re asking questions) will help you begin more conversations with people in your field. Having conversations is more than just commenting on posts and talking to people for the sake of building your network. It can also help you to understand your audience better, which as a result will help you to share more targeted content and begin more specific conversations online.
The trick is to “be social on social” – treat social media like you would a party where you are meeting new people, and chatting to people you’ve already met:
- Mingle - don’t just repeatedly talk to the same people. Staying in contact with people you know is important, of course - but be sure to make time for getting to know new people, too.
- Add them - the same way you might add someone on Facebook or follow them on Instagram after you’ve met them at a party, connect with people you talk to online, too. If you’ve discussed something with someone on LinkedIn, send them a connection request. If you’ve replied to someone’s tweet, follow them on Twitter.
- Stay relevant - as your network grows, be sure to share content that will resonate with all of your audiences. For example, if you’ve connected with a few software developers and you hear about a new programming language, share a status update about it on LinkedIn to spark a conversation.
Choose the right platforms to build your network
One mistake that is easily made is spreading yourself too thinly over too many social platforms instead of focusing on the most useful channels. If you spend your time trying to build your network on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat, a few audiences will end up being neglected.
Instead, focus on which platforms are most beneficial to you as a recruiter, or as a business. LinkedIn is always a good place to start when it comes to building a professional network and engaging with your connections, but have a think about which additional platforms will be right for you. Focus on building valuable networks with high engagement instead of numerous networks with low engagement – quality over quantity.
Connect with people who engage with you
Be sure to monitor your likes, comments and retweets on social media. Anyone who engages with you is worth connecting with, even if it’s a simple like on a status update. This is a genuine and organic way to expand your network, instead of sending countless connection or follow requests to people who have never seen or heard of you before.
Every couple of days, quickly check who has engaged with the content you have been sharing, and if there’s anyone outside your existing network, connect with them and introduce yourself.
Arrange a webinar to meet people in your sector
Webinars are a great way to get signups from people in your industry, whether it’s competitors, clients, candidates or otherwise. As long as you are marketing a valuable and interesting webinar discussion, you will be able to take advantage of any sign-ups and attendees you get. Answer questions live to speak to people directly during your webinar, and be sure to follow up afterwards with an introductory email and a LinkedIn connection request. If your marketing team has provided any post-webinar content to share, this is a great way to continue the conversation by asking your attendees for feedback.
Last but certainly not least – be consistent with building your network. When you get to a certain number of followers or connections, don’t just give up – keep the conversation going. Ensuring that you engage with your network on a regular basis will mean your name or brand will be recognisable and consistent within your sector. Check in with people, share content and be as sociable on social as your schedule will allow!