The importance of networking the right way, making connections within and beyond your industry.
These days, networking is more than just an opportunity to make connections—it’s an opportunity to let others know what you’re all about. In other words, networking, done right, can be the foundation of building your personal brand.
There’s perhaps no better way to network “the right way” than being a helpful resource to others. As Noticed CEO and co-founder Paul Moskowitz pointed out in a recent Forbes article, giving and contributing to others’ success can help you establish yourself as a thought leader, thus expanding your influence and reputation.
“Influence is the product of giving,” he noted, “sharing valuable information, connecting people to others whom they can help and who can help them, entertaining, sympathizing, engaging in earnest.”
These useful tips will help you leverage your networking activities to cultivate and reinforce your personal brand:
Sharing knowledge with others goes a long way toward helping you establish yourself as a thought leader and useful resource to others. Fortunately, opportunities to help others in this way abound, both in person and online, whether it be guest blogging, posting content to your social media, or being a mentor. In the digital realm, LinkedIn now has a career advice portal, which automatically matches you with potential mentees. Meanwhile, we here at Noticed recently launched our own mentor/mentee program.
Be the “connector”
Everybody has that one person in their network who seems to know everybody else. And when that person makes a concerted effort to bring people together in productive ways they become an extremely valuable resource to others. If you can be that “connector,” people will inevitably turn to you, whether they’re looking to make a new hire, hunting for a new job, or even just looking for a recommendation for a good lawyer or Realtor.
Be proactive in this regard. For example, when a friend posts on Facebook that they’re looking to hire a graphic designer or marketing specialist, share the post on your wall and tag other friends who might be interested.
Be active on social media
As you may have realized from the above, social media is integral in achieving all of these goals. LinkedIn may be the most important social platform for the modern-day professional, but Facebook and Twitter are also useful tools. Having a well-manicured profile is just the first step. To fully leverage your social media, join groups related to your field, participate in online conversations, and regularly post content about the latest trends and ideas in your industry.
But don’t forget about the real world
While social media give you the chance to reach a wider audience, there’s no substitute for in-person interaction when it comes to leaving a lasting impression and cultivating deeper relationships. Seek out opportunities to give guest lectures or seminars, attend networking events, and try to play an active role in relevant industry groups. Meetup is an especially great online tool to connect with others, and hosting your own events through the site can help you further establish yourself as an influencer and thought leader.
Taken together, these steps will create a cascade effect. The more knowledge you provide and the more connections you make, the more referrals those connections can point back to you, and the greater influence you will have. In essence, it’s a positive feedback loop. “After all, influence, by definition, only matters when it can trigger action,” Moskowitz wrote. “And people only act when they feel they’re entering into a fair relationship grounded in proper give-and-take.”