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5 Quick Tips To Help You Network Better Online

Networking is important. When I was in college I always thought it was a disgusting word that really just meant “making friends.”

Here’s the rub: I think a lot of people network the wrong way.

As a blogger who’s starting to gain some traction, I’m starting to see the OTHER side of the coin from people trying to get in contact with ME.

Many people email or message me, but few ever do it with any sort of charm.

I try to respond to everyone, but if it’s clear that they’re just trying to use me as a stepping stone, I’m not going to give them the time of day.

In short, I’ve built up a tight-knit following and also got to interview some pretty important people (like the writer of my favorite Disney movie).

Here’s a couple networking tips that might help you land a job, an interview, or a new fan for your blog.

Why Are You Networking?

Before I show you my five tips, ask yourself: Why am I networking?

To find a job? To gain a mentor? To get another guest for your podcast?

After a while, networking takes on a life of its own. Who says that one person who commented on your article doesn’t know someone who could get you a job?

Obviously they aren’t going to do anything right off the bat, but with careful, real relationship building, there’s no reason that couldn’t become a reality.

So whether you’re trying to find work or gain a mentor, start valuing EVERY PERSON you come into contact with. Your first goal should be to make a real connection with people, THEN you ask them for what you want. Here’s how to do it:

Where To Look For Meaningful Connections

If you’re wondering where to start looking for meaningful online connections, here’s a list of places to start:

Medium

Yes, right here. Look at writers who made any articles on the Daily Top 20. Search for certain keywords to find authors who have them in their profile. Follow bigger publications (such as The Mission) and keep a watchful eye out for who is publishing here.

Heck, start writing more! You never know who could comment.

You can find pretty much anybody you need to right here on Medium. Don’t underestimate its usefulness.

Quora

Quora is my saving grace. There’s so many experts, professionals, writers, and young people answering questions there. Follow a topic related to the people you’re trying to connect with and scroll, scroll, scroll through the answers.

HR Managers, Recruiters, and CEO’s of companys all flock to Quora to help other people out. Who says they won’t help you find work if you build a real relationship with them over time?

LinkedIn

Search articles on LinkedIn. It would be weird to connect with someone you barely know and tell them you’ve been looking at all their stuff, right? But if you comment on their article…

Big Publications

Many of the people I met online reached out to me because of a Huffington Post article I wrote. This is a brilliant idea. Follow bigger publications and watch out for any writers who are publishing there.

There’s almost always social media profiles/emails listed on their author page. Take advantage of this to get in contact with them.

Now that you know where to find meaningful connections, here’s how to foster your relationships with them.

1. Stalk, But Not Too Much

First off, I reply to everyone that comments on my Medium articles. It’s something I started doing just recently, and it helps me find other awesome writers, entrepreneurs, and young graduates.

For everybody that comments on my stuff, I look at their Medium profile. I see what they’re writing (if they’re writing), and try to leave a response of my own.

After that I write their name down in my Rolodex (more on that later), and connect with them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Quora.

Every time.

This is a bit excessive, but Quora and Twitter are pretty open social media platforms, though. I’m not going to find the person on Facebook as I think that’s a bit too personal, so I leave it to these platforms instead.

When making connections online, it’s important to “stalk” the person just like this. Why? Because whenever you respond to them, reach out to them, or get in contact with one of their assistants, you need to demonstrate that you know what the heck you’re talking about.

That will dramatically increase your chances of getting a response.

Before you do that, you must “stalk them” a bit.

2. Keep a “Rolodex”

For everyone that comments on my articles, I list their name in my rolodex.

By “rolodex” I mean a Google Doc. Yes, a Google Doc. It’s here that I list people’s names, where I’m connected with them, and a couple sentences detailing how I know them.

It’s funny to keep a rolodex in a Google Doc, but it actually works quite well.

Include people who have commented on articles, bloggers you follow, people you’ve worked with, and anybody else you deem important enough to include.

3. Specify One Day To Check In With Everyone

My day to check in with everyone is Tuesday. At 6 p.m. after dinner I run through my entire rolodex and check-in with absolutely every person. I read their articles, see what they’ve been up to on LinkedIn, and see whether they’ve answered any questions on Quora.

Then I comment or like some of their more recent things.

As a blogger, this is my specific means of checking in. If you’re a professional looking for work you might send someone an email, leave a comment on their company blog, or engage in a Facebook Group that person runs.

JUST DO SOMETHING.

The point is to keep yourself front of mind. You only have to do this once per week for it to work.

This is actually quite fun to do. I always used to feel guilty for falling behind on checking in with friends, etc. On the flip side it’s amazing when you actually do keep up with someone and see how they’re growing as a professional or even as a person.

I don’t just check in with my rolodex because I want to stay front of mind — I check in because I love seeing how they’re progressing. I love everyone I get to speak with on the internet, and my connections with them feel just as genuine as any real-world connection I’ve ever had with other friends because I’m actually interested in their progress.

I’m simply using the “Rolodex” because I can’t possibly remember everybody on my own.

4. Be Available For Help, Or Ask For It!

Ben Franklin once had someone who didn’t like him very much.

Because Ben knew this man was smart and would become influential in government at some point, he made it his duty to win the man over to his good side.

But how did he do it?

Well, Ben asked him for a favor.

More specifically, Ben asked the man if he could borrow a book from him — of which the man was very flattered to hear. He glady lent it to him.

After a week, Ben returned the book to the gentleman with a thank-you note inside, and Franklin was pleased to say they became great friends afterwards.

You see, doing someone a favor is extremely valuable, but asking someone for a favor can be just as valuable when used correctly.

For some reason it works. Psychologists tested the “Ben Franklin” effect in 1969 and they were pleased to say it did in fact hold water.

So, to strengthen a relationship with someone you’ve met online, you can:

  1. Always be ready to help them out.
  2. Ask them for a small favor, and try to return that favor in some small way later on down the line (I.E. Ben Franklin’s thank-you note).

Don’t ask them for a favor right after you’ve digitally introduced yourself, though. I’d say you need to get through three cycles of the rolodex check-in before you can ask for anything —but keep this in mind.

5. Ask For An Interview

One “hack” you might want to try out as a job seeker is to ask subjects you find online if you can interview them for your blog/publication/podcast.

I find this boosts response rates SIGNIFICANTLY, and more importantly it gets you on the phone with them.

You’ve graduated from being just some name on their screen to a voice that they hear. This holds IMMENSE value for your networking efforts, but it only occurs when you provide your subjects value in return.

You’re getting them in front of an audience, flattering them by asking for an interview, and strengthening your bond in one fell swoop.

The best part of this strategy?

You can literally ask for an interview the first time you contact these people. Why? Because you’re immediately offering them value, that’s why.

This is the reason I think everyone who’s job seeking should have a blog. What does it look like if you ask a Hiring Manager or a CEO of a company if you can interview them for YOUR blog?

It shows you have your sh*t together, that’s what.

You are arlready so much different from all the other job seekers they come across, and this, quite frankly, is lethal in the job market.

This kind of ties into the fourth point — asking them for a favor. The only difference is you’re providing them just as much value as they’re providing you.

Thank you for reading. What are some of your networking strategies?

I am a full-time Digital Nomad and travel quite a bit. If you want to learn how to work and travel at the same time, download my ebook called “You Work Where?

If you enjoyed this story, please click the 👏 button and share to help others find it! Feel free to leave a comment below.

The Mission publishes stories, videos, and podcasts that make smart people smarter. You can subscribe to get them here. By subscribing and sharing, you will be entered to win three (super awesome) prizes!

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Tom Kuegler

Tom Kuegler

Travel blogger. 28 years old. Currently in Mexico. Get my free 5-day Medium course via email → https://bit.ly/35yyIIu

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