Having success at both in-person and online networking gives us both depth and distance. In-person we can develop a high degree of intimacy and trust, while online we can extend our reach...well...to anywhere and everywhere in the world.
Three Step Online Networking Plan
- TIME AVAILABLE - On average, how much time each week can you allocate to online networking? We recommend that online networking is a weekly (if not daily) activity.
- TIME AVAILABLE FOR INITIATING CONTACT - Multiply your weekly available hours by .4 or 40% to get your time available for initiating contact. We suggest allocating your available time as follows 40% initiating contact, 40% one-on-one exchange, and 20% follow up and staying connected.
- CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORM(S) - Often scarcity helps us make better choices. When you limit the time available to go to use social media you will get more out of those tools. Based on whom you want to meet and your available time, decide which social media you should commit to.
This example plan is based on having 5 hours available to network each week. Your availability will likely be different.
- Weekly online networking schedule - 2 hours
- List the appropriate social media platforms
- Prioritize by most to least valuable for you
- Weekly one-on-one exchange availability - 2 hours - if you’re going to go over budget on anything this is where to do it. Meeting with and building relationships with the right people IS NETWORKING.
- Monthly follow up and management availability - 1 hour
- Reconnect with people
- Pass valuable information
- Make introductions and referrals
- Continue to invest in relationships
- Manage your database
The most important elements of online networking are your ability to search for key contacts and that there is no geographic limitation. You may target meeting local people who you can get together with face-to-face. On the other hand you can focus on connections in other geographies, in which case your meetings will be virtual using tools like Skype and Hangout. Combine this online business networking plan with your in-person plan and you will develop an exceptionally broad and deep bullpen. Assure great business networking results in 2013 by creating your plan today!
Stay tuned for additional content over the coming weeks about online business networking best practices.