Networking Online & Off

83%.  That is the percentage of people that start their buying decisions on-line.
80%.  That is the number of companies that use social media for recruitment.
43%.  That is the percentage of people 54-65 that are on social media.

The first question always asked to me is if social media and online networking is relevant.  Those stats show the resounding answer is yes.  The next question is how do I use it to my advantage.  Lets explore a couple of ways and relate them to personal networking.

Be Yourself
The most important component of networking both in person and online is simply be yourself.  If you are a funny individual, use some humor.  If you are straight to the point, be blunt.  If you are really passionate about roses, talk about roses.  The most important thing is let your personality shine through.  People do business with individuals that they connect with so allow them to connect with you online in a personal way.

What Do I Say
Just like in real life, its not necessarily what you say but how you say it.  Say it with confidence and prove through your actions how you are the expert.  Many times people are are too caught up in exactly what to say that they say nothing.  That is one of the worse things to do.  With that being said, its more important to give out quality info than a ton of info.  However, think about what you talk about in your business everyday and replicate that online.

Have a Plan
Know what your agenda is and stick to your plan.  Do you want to be perceived as an industry expert? Then think of some interesting info to share about your industry.  Do you want to be known as someone that knows a lot of people that can get things done?  Then get out and actively search for people that you know.  Also, in regards to a plan, spend about an hour or two each month thinking about exactly what you want to get out of networking and then plan accordingly.  Maybe its writing a couple of blogs or going to three networking events. Regardless what it is, plan for it in your schedule and you the do it.

What is My Best Outlet
Only you can decide that.  Do you like writing?  Then blog 250-400 words.  Do you talk better than you write? Then videotape yourself for 2-3 minutes or create a podcast.  Do whatever it is that matches up with your personality.  Again be you.  You can use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs or hundreds of other ways to express yourself.  Many times you’ll create one piece and post them in many different locations.

Those are just some tidbits of info to help people become involved.  It all comes down to planning it in, being consistent and being yourself.  The rest of the details will be filled in along the way.  Also, if you struggle on what to do online, simply replicate what you do offline and you’ll be successful.

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