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The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking online

June 9, 2017 07:32 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking online

Having access to a whole world of connections offers great potential for professional networking. There are ways of using your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to boost your presence online and network with potential business connections.
Networking online is very similar to networking face-to-face; first impressions are very important. The difference online is that you are putting your persona out there before you have even started speaking to anyone.
Here are 6 ways to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward when you are networking online.
1. Protect yourself. Google yourself and delete inappropriate images from your profile(s). This is a quick and effective way to see what others see when they search for you online. Set up a Google Alert for yourself, which will notify you when someone has searched for you.

2. Be positive. People are less likely to connect with you if you post negative messages on your profile. Keep these messages clean and consistent.

3. Be professional. Separate your personal and professional life online. Create another account if necessary.
Use a professional image on your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles (if you use the latter for business).
Use a professional email address.

4. Keep it private. Check your privacy settings to make sure they are appropriate.

5. Post regular, relevant and authentic content on your profile. You can use your Twitter profile to your advantage here as it prompts you to post short, concise messages. Posting a link to a blog post or website and using images in your posts are more likely to attract engagement.

Use relevant keywords in your profile that potential connections will be searching for. Job listings and other people’s profiles are a good source of inspiration for generating these keywords.

Use relevant hashtags in your posts as this will improve the reach of your message to your potential audience. Don’t use too many hashtags however, as the impact and meaning of your message will be lost.

Retweet relevant content and reply to tweets to increase your presence on Twitter. This can be positive customer feedback or helpful articles. Anything you post should be in line with your overall purpose and values.

Twitter is an effective platform as you can use your Twitter activity dashboard to see who is engaging with the content you post on your profile.

6. Be persistent. Once your profile is ready to go and the connections come flooding in, the important thing is to nurture these connections. As recommended in my last blog, it is key to plan ahead. Plan what goals you would like to achieve and try to stick to them. This way you are more likely to stay on track. Joining online communities is a good way to stay in touch with events that are coming up and the latest discussions on issues in your area.
Don’t just rely on social networking sites to make professional connections; online networking should supplement and not completely replace face-to-face networking. Connecting on LinkedIn is a good start but meeting face-to-face is a worthwhile follow-up activity.

Tags: Networking, Social networking, Online, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking

May 17, 2017 13:34 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking

Networking is an important marketing tool as it will increase awareness of your business and will allow you to gain the knowledge and expertise to enhance your credibility as a professional marketer.

Here is a basic guide composing of 6 things that you can do to ensure you are on track to becoming more successful at networking.

1. Get the basics right!

Look – maintain eye contact with the person in front of you. Avoid letting your eyes wander around the room. This will reassure the person that you are talking to that you are interested in what they have to say which means they are more likely to be open and honest with you.

Listen – listen actively
Active listening means fully concentrating on what is being said. This involves being seen to be listening such as nodding your head for example and maintaining eye contact to show that you are engaged in listening to them.

Being patient and neutral in your approach to the conversation will also be very beneficial in getting the most out of it, allowing short silences in the conversation so that you don’t jump in too early.

2. Be prepared – the key is to sell yourself and be proactive.
What unique value do you offer? Prepare a short and concise introduction of who you are and what you have to offer.

Have your first question prepared before you go up to someone; ask them why they have come to the event for example, which is a direct and informative question. The Five W’s who, what, why, when and where are a useful place to start when coming up with open-ended informative questions.

3. Set yourself a goal – this can be something you want to learn more about or specific people you would like to meet before you attend the event. Use these to document how well the event went afterwards.

4. Be positive – go in with an open mind and a positive attitude. Every networking event is an opportunity, even if you feel that you will get nothing out of it there may be benefits further down the line. It is important to show yourself in a good light as the people you meet will have a lasting first impression of you.

5. Build bridges – look for ways in which you can offer a solution to the problems that they may be facing. If you are unable to do this, there might be someone you know you may be able to help them, and who knows they may return the favour in the future.

6. Stay in contact – Always follow up a conversation promptly if you have promised to do so. When you do, mention something specific that you enjoyed speaking about with that person; this is an easy way to help you to maintain a positive attitude during a follow-up conversation.

By following these six simple rules you will be on your way to becoming a more professional networker.

Tags: Networking, The Five W's

Categories: A Learner's Perspective