The 7 Mistakes People Make When Networking Online
Speaking to an audience with your back turned is like networking online without a photo. It’s completely ineffective – so why do people do it and what are the other 6 mistakes people make when networking online?
- They don’t include a photo on their profile page
- They don’t fill in their profile
- They don’t post on group discussion boards
- They do not practice the four essentials of the likeability factor
- When they post they don’t put their URL into their signature.
- They make it a mission to collect as many names as possible
- They don’t follow up with the contacts they have made.
Lets explore this more closely.
No 1. Your photo - If you don’t have a photo no one is going to stop on your page. Would you be interested in reading a profile without a photo attached?Another point about photos – make sure they are professional. I do not want to see you in fancy dress at your best friends Halloween party, and I do not want to see you smooching your pet dog unless you are a vet or own a pet grooming salon.
Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words. What do you want perspective business connections to ascertain from your picture?
No 2. Fill in your profile. Add as much relevant information as you can. If you have a website, or two , or three – make sure you feature them. This is the part of networking online that is like working the room in a live event. You are letting people know who you are and initially if you are relevant to each other and worth following up on.
No 3. Putting up your profile and waiting to be noticed is not networking and frankly if this is all you have done you are wasting all the fabulous opportunities networking online has to offer you. If you have a website, you will know that you don’t just go live and wait. You write articles with links back to your site, you write testimonials on other peoples sites, you participate in discussion boards and you put your URL on all your products and promotional materials.
When networking online you need to post at least three times a week. This does not mean starting a new discussion every time; you can simply reply or add value to a topic that is already live.
- Lead people back to your profile page to see who you are.
- Let people know what you are interested in and what your opinions are, and if they are in line with their own thoughts and feelings on different topics.
- Keep you visible.
Remember, if you don’t post, you are invisible. If you post something interesting, people will come to your homepage to find out more about you.
But remember too, don’t post too much or people will think you have too much time on your hands and that your business can’t be very successful.
No 4. Tim Sanders talks about working on the four essentials of your Likeability factor.
(see book, “The Likeability Factor”)
This is as relevant online as it is in life. Be aware that most network members are invisible, they never post or speak their mind, but they do read, and everything you write will reflect your personality and your business, and therefore their decision as to whether or not they will use your services. Share your knowledge and wisdom. Make yourself a valuable resource. Someone whom people want to get to know.
Number 5. Your website url is your business card online. You wouldnt go to a live event without your cards, don’t post without adding your URL under your name.
Speaking of business cards brings me to point. No 6. Don’t just gather contacts. You will notice there are some people in networking groups with hundreds of contacts on their lists. A bit like the live networker who runs around the room shoving business cards in everybodys hands and grabbing cards as they go. These names are useless unless you have something in common and keep in touch.
No 7. keep in touch with your new contacts. Look for ways you can enhance the networking environment.
A colleague, Scott Stratten from Unmarketing.com suggests, “if someone interests you look at their “Have’s” and “Want’s” (found on the profile page) and see if there is something you can do to help them. He notes that “This reinforces the importance of the “give first” philosophy. Results are often not immediate, but they do come, usually in a big way if you are sincere and create real value for the people around you.”
So when networking online post a professional photo on your contact page. Provide as much relevant information as possible on your profile. Post on the discussion boards at least three times a week. Practice the four essentials of the likeability factor – friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness. When you post always put your URL into your signature. Connect only to people who you will be useful to or who benefit you in some way. Build relationships with your contacts and cull out the dead ends regularly.
Above all, have fun!
I look forward to meeting you online.