Business networking tips | Online networking tips

The internet has made making a name for yourself, getting to know important people and getting known in your field a lot easier.

It is not a substitute for meeting people in person or attending networking events, but it should be seen as an essential tool in getting exposure in your industry.

One of the most useful elements of the internet is that if you can get your name listed on a few web sites or in online news articles then your name may be searchable for months or even years. This increases the possibility that people may stumble across you when searching within your field.

It may therefore be an idea to write articles that relate to the field you work in. It will be necessary to clear this with your current employer, but many will be happy with the free advertising a well written article will give the company.

Getting your article listed on the internet is not difficult but getting it well publicised in the most relevant locations is. The easy option is to post the article to one of the many article hosting web sites. However, you are unlikely to get much exposure from these sites.

The second option is to send the article to the press. Again you will need your employers permission for this. If you are at a large company then they may well have a corporate communications department that could provide you with press contacts. If you are at a smaller company then you may have to send some time going through the internet searching for press contacts. When approaching the press, make sure you approach those publications that would be interested, such as trade publications.

Writing articles and publicising your abilities will not be possible for all people but there are many other ways to expand your network on the internet. Using a service like Linkedin is a good way of expanding your online business network. This is essentially the business version of Facebook where you can list you achievements, job history and educational qualifications. You can build up an online network of people that you've worked with, have met or may wish to meet. The web site gives your contacts the chance to recommend you. If you have some close friends or colleagues in your network then it is a good idea to ask them to give you a recommendation as it will help you to stand out.

Unless you are in a young industry like fashion or marketing, then it is best to avoid using social networks as a networking tool. You run the risk of your non-work friends writing something embarrassing on your wall or posting pictures when of you after a few too many drinks.


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