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How to maximise your virtual network


When it comes to networking: bigger is better. Thanks to today’s virtual networking opportunities, you can easily build and maintain relationships with contacts around the world.

Face-to-face meetings are the perfect way to conduct business; the ideal way to read, get to know and understand your contacts. However, Dorie Clark’s Harvard Business Review article reveals how raising your international profile can also result in professional success.

1) Be proactive. Don’t assume your tweets or online articles will be picked up by your relevant audience. Pick 5–10 people you want to target (such as colleagues, clients, or industry heavyweights essential to your professional success) and follow them on social media. Check where your contacts are active and draw up a list of channels to follow. Engage with these individuals by retweeting their posts, answering questions and sharing responses to their updates. Over time your name will become familiar. By maintaining a professional manner – and not appearing obsessive or overly keen – your targeted contacts are more likely to meet you if the opportunity arises.

2) Get noticed. Do your homework and draw people in by publishing engaging content. Highlight useful business information or provide your point of view on a relevant topic. When these matters are of interest to the person you want to connect with, they will likely discover your work. You can speed up this process by tagging, quoting or mentioning them in your posts. This is particularly effective if your contact has a Google alert set up for their name.

The Mars company’s quick response to the World Cup incident involving a Uruguayan player biting an Italian opponent was an international hit. Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you're hungry just grab a Snickers had more than 47,000 retweets. Being timely, responsive and bang on trend will get you even more noticed.

3) The personal touch. Once virtual contact has been made try and engineer a face-to-face meeting. If your contact is attending a conference or event, try and hook up with them. Building on your online presence, message them via Linkedin or Twitter and suggest a time to connect. After your meeting, social media is a great way to keep that connection going. Seeing your updates and online engagements will keep you in your contact’s mind.

By being proactive and backing up your online presence with personal meetings, you can use virtual networking to advance your career. In this way, social media can help you build and maintain relationships that are key to your professional success. What are you waiting for? Start maximising your profile now to get the most from your online presence.