Making new connections online.
Making new connections is fun. Building out your network of people that you know and that know you is very powerful. It is a basic life skill that anyone that wants to be more successful should practice.
New tools mean it is easy to make new connections.
A lot of people that I speak to at all stages of their career don’t seem to have any kind of strategy to build their network. I think that this has been exasperated by the reliance on social media tools especially Twitter and LinkedIn acting as defacto networks. They are not networks in their own right though; that is unless you are truly social with them. An old business mentor of mine used to say “Your network is like your lawn it will dry up unless you water it.” Saying that the combination of Twitter and LinkedIn are fantastic tools for getting you started on building new and valuable connections.
Being human online is an uncommon skill.
My first piece of advice is to be human. If you are on LinkedIn, then I am sure you have had 100s of LinkedIn requests from people who you have no idea who they are and have not been bothered to introduce themselves as to why you might want to connect with them. It is like walking into a business conference throwing your stack of business cards into the air and walking out thinking that in the morning you’ll have 100s of new business connections. This does not work!
So be human – if you want to connect with someone; give a reason. And no, “because I want to increase my network” is not a reason. Look at the person’s profile and explain quickly why you think you should connect. Surprising how well this works.
The follow-up sequence that I use follows the same premise. Continue being social, continue being human. Say thank you for connecting. Interact with the content that they share. Continue to water the lawn, before you ask for anything in return.
And that’s it. Thats my process.
Be consistent and don’t sell!
You need to be consistent with this and it helps when you target a niche that you know will see value in connecting with you. But put simply, be human, say hello and act socially. And if you want something, if you are trying to sell something don’t do it in your introduction! Avoid doing it for the first few interactions until you have built rapport and trust. Ideally, wait until they come to you.
With the ease of interaction that social media has put into the hands of everyone this uncommon simple strategy works. And I am not worried about sharing it as those that spam will continue to spam and those that want to build real human connections will understand, apply and might even reach out to me! Which is great because I love making new connections.
Let me know how you do out in the wild making new connections by being human. I look forward to meeting you out there. If you want to connect do tell me why via my LinkedIn profile or follow me via my Twitter profile.