7 secrets to mastering online networking

Blog by Sophie Raaijmakers, Career Officer Social Sciences & Coördinator Pre-University College, Faculty of Social Science 

During these strange Corona times, the way we conduct business has changed immensely. As did the way we interact with our customers. The physical distance to our customer has increased enormously. This means that our online network and our online networking skills are more important than ever! So how can the digital world help you achieve your goals, especially now?

1. Connect with challenges your customer currently faces

What daily struggles does your target group encounter? Conduct a small survey among people who represent your customer group. Want to find more topics that you can respond to in your online communication? Look at Google Trends and monitor trending topics on social media (Twitter, Instagram).

2. Enrich your LinkedIn profile with relevant key words

Find and use key words that are commonly used in your field of work. Using relevant key words ensures your content to be found quickly and easily by your peers and target group. By using these key words consistently in your LinkedIn profile (i.e. in your headline, summary, experience and skills), you increase your search engine optimization (SEO). In other words, your profile will be found more easily on the basis of the key words you selected.

3. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date

The higher the quality of your LinkedIn profile, the higher your “SSI score”* and the more you will be “helped” by LinkedIn. This means your content appears in timelines more often and your profile will rank higher in the search results. Want to learn how to increase your SSI score? Go to www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi/.

4. Share your unique story

Make sure that your summary on LinkedIn clearly shows why you do what you do, how you approach your work and what your product or service is exactly (want to get inspired? Take a look the famous TEDtalk by Simon Sinek). By sharing your personal story, you can spark the imagination of the people looking at your profile and pitch your product or service in an inspiring, memorable and convincing way.

5. Share interesting content your way

There are many ways to inspire others online. Do you have writing talent? Start a (LinkedIn) blog! Are you a smooth talker and do you have a way with words? Recording YouTube videos or vlogs might bet he thing for you! Good listener? Start a podcast where you interview others! More visually oriented and a talent for graphic design? Create useful infographics! Use your qualities when sharing content. This makes it way more fun for you and for others! So don’t try to copycat someone else’s content, just be you! 😊

6. Help others

You can help your connections by sharing their content with your own network or by simply “liking” or “commenting” on posts. Nice bonus: the connections of your connections can also see your contribution. So, next to helping people, you are simultaneously increasing your own online visibility and reach and creating your own likability factor. So, it’s a win-win situation!

7. Expand your network

By following a top entrepreneur or group on LinkedIn, you can get inspired and find interesting people. It’s not necessary to be connected to everyone, but it might be interesting to “follow” them. In this way, you will be able to read their inspiring content. Another way to expand your network is by searching for alumni on LinkedIn. Remember: always make your connection request with your desktop computer or laptop, because then you can add a message to your request. Very important!

*SSI is a score from LinkedIn based on how effectively you portray your professional brand, build relationships, find the right people, and engage with insights. This is known as your Social Selling Index, or SSI for short.