When it comes to networking online, talking to complete strangers on the internet isn’t nearly as bad or anxiety triggering as trying to speak to complete strangers in person.
You don’t really have to pay attention to verbal tones or body language because when networking in person those types of things matter in a big way.
I myself prefer to network online than in person.
I’m a hermit.
When it comes brand awareness being a hermit is a great way to make sure no one knows who you are or what you do, let alone buy something from you.
If that’s the case, then read no more!
You’re work here is done and I wish you nothing but love and success towards your days as a hermit.
But if you’re like the rest of the thousands of people online trying to gain some actual traffic and AUTHENTIC ENGAGEMENT then read on.
Networking online can really take your business to the next level.
Staking A Claim to Virtual Property
Deciding to stake your claim to some internet property by getting a product to sell online and then building a website is actually the easy part.
No experience is necessary and you don’t have to know a lick of coding to build a gorgeous website.
The downside though is literally everyone and their mother is now trying to monetize on anything and everything causing saturated markets.
So what do you do?
How do you set yourself apart from the vast amounts of competition?
What makes YOU so different?
This is where the networking starts to come in.
Whatever you might be selling, whether it’s eyelashes, baby pacifiers, garlic graters, cat brushes, jewelry or even information, one thing is for absolute certain,
If you don’t bring awareness to your brand you will not see any traffic let alone conversions.
The simple days of creating a beautiful website and a kick-ass mission statement are long behind us.
Today, people want to know the person behind the brand and most importantly WHY you’re doing it.
Quickly ask yourself,
Why am I selling eyelashes or garlic graters?
What’s the purpose behind my brand?
What value am I adding to my consumer’s life with my product?
If you’re not able to answer those questions I suggest taking some time to carve out your purpose because I promise you it matters.
Knowing and understanding the mission or the WHY behind your brand will help you to grasp my 5 Tips to Networking Online for Beginners.
1. What is Your Why?
Before you even think about networking you must know your ‘why’.
This question frustrated me for a long time because I didn’t know how to answer it.
“What do you mean WHY am I building my platform?”, I would ask.
“To get sales, duh!”
When it was actually time to start networking I began trying to explain my platform to other people and of course I couldn’t because all I was thinking was “to get sales, duh!”
Yah, you can’t tell people that.
Not a good look for business, especially a small one that’s just starting out.
Understanding your WHY will help you gauge which customers are worth investing into while networking.
You want to be able to bring brand awareness and make sure the consumer understands HOW your product or service will be adding quality to their life.
Your WHY should not be to ‘make money’ and should honestly be the last thing you think of when trying to obtain brand awareness.
I know, crazy concept right?
2. Be Authentic
Authenticity is a skill that not too many of us have nowadays.
The silver lining with that is skills can always be developed if worked on consistently and with awareness.
You can’t fake authenticity no matter how much you try.
If you are talking to someone knowing for a fact your product or service isn’t going to add value to their life don’t waste their time or yours.
Be real with what you have to offer.
Believe it or not, people appreciate transparency.
When you show you don’t want to waste someone times you demonstrate how much they are valued.
Wouldn’t you like the same treatment?
That’s energy you can place towards a customer who would highly benefit from what you have.
If you’re able to focus on niche customers you will easily begin to gain the trust of your potential consumer.
Showing that your authentic and not just out here for the bag, will show the customer you care.
It will begin to chip at their defenses resulting in a budding relationship of trust between your brand and the consumer.
Trust is the seed that needs the most watering but will bloom the most beautiful.
3. Don’t Push Your Product/ Service on the First Conversation
When building a brand the overall end game is longevity and to have your brand eventually work for you.
To do that, you have to understand your WHY and pitch to potential consumers that fit your niche while being authentic.
So you did that. That’s amazing and a task in itself.
You determined your WHY and you’ve targeted your audience, so just start sending your links right?
No my sweet sweet reader.
Imagine having someone walk up to you out of the blue and they just start going on about how they love your fake eyelashes or tie and then start pushing their product onto you.
Not even trying to get to know you or what you’re about.
Maybe you hate eyelashes and ties and you were only wearing them as a one time thing.
The last thing you want to do is buy more.
Has this happened to you?
If so, are you approaching potential consumers in this way? Coming out of the gate swinging without attempting to first create a relationship?
Remember, people need to understand who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
It’s your responsibility to recognize when and where you are needed.
Try to not push your product/ service on the first couple of conversations with a potential consumer.
Work on gaining their trust first.
See if they actually need what you’re offering and wait until their defenses are down so they can be more receptive to what you have to say.
If you wait long enough, you will become good at recognizing windows of opportunity that will perfectly fit your product into a naturally progressing conversation, not making it look like your trying to sell anything at all.
4. Don’t Copy & Paste the Same Message
I’m pretty sure people can clearly hear me rolling my eyes when they send me a Facebook message that was clearly copied and pasted from a list of already generated texts standing idly by on their notebook app.
It’s just plain impersonal.
It shows the potential customer that you simply do not care about what their wants and needs are; all you’re interested in is getting them to click your link.
Getting someone to click your link is grand and all but we’re looking for conversions right?
Tailor your pitch to the demographics of the customer’s needs because if they fit your niche then there’s definitely something about your product or service they can probably benefit from.
It’s up to you to help them understand that and see what they didn’t even know they needed.
I’m going to use eyelashes again as a product example — men you can substitute eyelashes for ties if it suits you better. (Ha! Pun fully intended).
If you’re not paying attention to who your sending generated messages too you’ll wind up wasting so much energy trying to slang eyelashes to a rapper or a dad of three all because you didn’t take the time to get to know who your talking too.
If you would’ve taken the time to investigate their profile you would have seen that rapper has a girlfriend who LOVES to do makeup and suggest the perfect pair for him to give as a gift.
BAM. Tailored message.
If you would’ve paid attention to the dad of three you would’ve seen he has all boys and no one in that family is going to benefit from your lash line, but would probably benefit from the men selling ties.
You see what I mean?
You think you’re saving time by copying and pasting the same generic message chasing the instant gratification of a link click instead of taking the time to calculate who to network with and establishing long lasting relationships that eventually convert to a loyal customer.
Remind yourself all the time there is no such thing as overnight success and you have to WORK HARD for your brand awareness.
5. DIVE IN
Ain’t nothing to it but to do it!.
Once you’ve identified your WHY and your customer niche; keeping in mind to stay authentic and not sound generic, all you have to do is go!
It might feel weird and silly at first but with practice it will be a cake walk just like anything else you’ve never done before.
Creating a platform, brand or service is a responsibility and a big one.
The aim is to add quality to people’s lives and creating a brand people can depend on no matter what.
Reputation is EVERYTHING and you will be building one with every single person you network with.
Don’t hold back, remember why you’re doing this and stay in that space with every potential customer you talk too.
Every person you talk too should be leaving a little happier and grateful than when they first began talking to you.
Find ways to be memorable by honing in on the details.
Online Networking Recap
- What is Your Why?
- Be Authentic
- Don’t Push Your Product on the First Conversation (Touching Point)
- Don’t Copy and Paste
- Dive In
You don’t have to be a master salesman to drive online conversions but you do have to at least understand your brand enough to show someone why they need your services or products.
If you found this article helpful or know someone that could benefit from these tips don’t forget to share.