A New Strategy for Networking in the Digital Age

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Only a few decades ago networking meant attending conferences and events and handing out a business card. Yet fast-forward to 2022, and networking increasingly online. This was a big deal even before the onset of the global pandemic in the era of remote working and Zoom calls, but now, we are really living in a time where digital networking is the norm.

While this means more opportunities to connect with a wider pool of people and connect with people who may have been off-limits before, it also brings a whole new set of networking etiquette and methods.

Here are some basic principles to keep in mind as you navigate this new world.

Approach Communication with a “Less Is More” Mindset

Your objective shouldn’t be to try to connect with everyone and their grandparents. A few superficial relationships can give you a satisfying feeling that you’ve been “productive,” but this isn’t likely to be particularly useful in the long run unless you’re lucky. The digital world favors the quantity-to-quality approach by constantly filling us with noise and an endless pool of new connections.

Aim to have the following five categories of connections:

  • 3-5 People you can use as a sounding board for advice and support to your most vulnerable.
  • 5-15 People you can ask for help with specific questions.
  • 15-200 People who are familiar that you may connect with from time to time.
  • 200-1,500 You can try to reach people who are in more distant contact, but have limited relationships with them.
  • 1,500+ People who can follow you on social media but do not connect with you directly.

Pay attention to them in this order. It’s no use trying to be an influencer if you don’t even have a handful of mentors or close associates you can trust.

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Be careful with your written communication

Everyone has a different idea of ​​how formal online communication should be and how to interact with others, but I suggest you apply the “less is more” approach to how to communicate through writing. I encourage it’s no secret that getting distracted, so accomplish this by keeping your messages and posts as brief as possible.

Cut out the fluff, and don’t take two sentences to get over a message you can convey in one line. If you need a few lines to get to your point, break it up with lots of white space, which makes it easier for the reader to scan what you’re saying and come to a quick conclusion. This applies not only to posting and commenting online, but also to the messages or emails you may send.

One way to increase your chances of reading what you’ve written is to use emoji. They’re not just for kids – they’re a great way to express yourself and add a dash of color and personality to whatever you’re saying. Some people fear that potential connections or employers will not take them seriously, but this happens very rarely. five billion emoji are used every single day, and they are fast becoming a universal language. Why not use them?

Lastly, try to offer a combination of content on your LinkedIn posts. Instead of always posting about your personal experiences or commentary on current affairs, mix things up little by little. Ideas include:

  • industry update
  • Inspirational and encouraging content
  • anecdotes
  • Videos and Images

And don’t forget to comment on others’ posts! This can be tedious to maintain, but luckily, there is a solution.

Automate Your Outreach Where Possible

One of the biggest benefits of living in the digital age is that everything from sending emails to running advertising campaigns can be automated. But you don’t need to be a business selling a product or service to take advantage of automation; You can also use it as part of your job search.

Automation is especially powerful for anyone looking for a new role, but it’s also effective for those who just want to build their network and be open to any opportunities that lie ahead.

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always be honest

Networking is a difficult process and it takes away our worst fears. Maybe you’re afraid that people will judge you if you give your true opinion or show your true personality – but in most cases, they will recognize and respect the authenticity of what you’re doing.

For example, boasting about the platform in LinkedIn posts (for example, saying it’s too self-congratulatory or cliche) often do surprisingly well. People often enjoy watching others break taboos.

As a case study, See this controversial post. The post may seem like it would hurt a user’s reputation, but the account has over 50,000 followers and the post regularly gets thousands of likes. You might not want to take things to this extreme – just be true to yourself and do what feels right to you instead of trying to fit a mold.

You also need to be authentic with your automation. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is up to you which automation settings you choose and how you use automation. For example, would you be explicit about the fact that you are using automation or would you try to hide it? Will you be creating automated message templates that are more playful or more formal?

Just because something is automatic, doesn’t mean you can’t add your own personal touch.

new environment, same people

A lot has changed in networking over the past decade, but human nature has remained the same. When it comes down to it, people want largely the same things and act the same way – it’s just that the conversations are happening online, not in person.

Do what feels right to you, focus on quality over quantity, and automate when you can. the rest is up to you.

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