If you take a look at your list of friends on Facebook, it sure seems like you know a lot of people. On Twitter, it may seem like you know even more. But while it’s great to have a lot of friends with whom you can share your photos and innermost thoughts, there comes a time when you’ll need or want to connect with others not only on a social plane, but on a professional level as well. But for most people, meeting others in your niche isn’t quite as easy as sending a friend request. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can leverage social media outlets to meet relevant professionals in your field. The suggestions below can guide you in the appropriate use of social media to meet people in your niche.
Keep it Real
No matter what social media service you’re using to build a potential relationship, make sure to keep your profile authentic. Use a real picture of yourself instead of an avatar to make yourself seem genuine and approachable. List your real age (if necessary) and your real credentials. Just last week, the CEO of Yahoo!, Scott Thompson, stepped down after it was discovered that he lied about having a computer science degree. These days, there is no shame in promoting your actual achievements rather than fabricating fake ones. Creating an honest social networking profile is a great way to get noticed for your integrity rather than your falsified claims which will likely cause problems at some point in the future.
When it comes to social networking, the sky is literally the limit. With the right networking strategy you can meet dozens if not hundreds of people in your niche over time. But this doesn’t mean that you need to meet them all at once. If you’re in the market for a job, a partner or an investor, look around on your network and your friends’ networks and identify people in your niche that can truly be helpful, rather than asking for general connections to anyone who may be of assistance. Your friends will likely be happy to make connections if you can express to them your specific intentions and explain why such an opportunity can be truly beneficial to you both. On the other hand, your friends will likely get annoyed if you ask them for too many introductions all at once.
Be Bold, in a Gentle Way
A great way to meet people in your niche is to look around on Twitter so that you can see who the players are and who is talking about your industry. If you have a mutual friend to connect through, you’re in luck. But if you don’t, you can still meet people by following them and letting them know you’re alive. Thank them for their contributions to the industry, and when relevant, share your own with them directly. Hopefully others will find what you have to say interesting immediately. But if not, at least you’ve gotten your name in the minds of people in your niche – and you never know when this knowledge will lead to a productive professional connection.
Use Social Sites for their Intended Purposes
There’s no rule that says Facebook is aimed at fraternizing rather than connecting professionally. In fact, with the creation of Facebook apps like BranchOut, one can argue that Facebook is rapidly expanding into the professional arena. Still, it’s a good idea to use each social media service in the way it was intended to maximize your results. On Twitter, for example, try to tailor your posts so that they are directly relevant to your niche, so that you’ll get listed on professional lists. On Linkedin, don’t just post your credentials – join groups in your industry so that you can expand your network significantly and stay abreast of industry news and events while posting your own news or questions. Every social media site has specific ways in which professionals can best connect, and using them appropriately will yield greater results than underutilizing the services.
Use Social Media to Find Live Networking Opportunities
At the end of the day, face-to-face interactions have the potential to be more successful than online connections. If you truly want to meet people in your niche, attending industry events is likely inevitable. A good way to identify the right events to attend is to read up about them in your social media circles. See who is attending an upcoming event, and whether the people going are those you want to network with. There’s no need to pay the big bucks for a conference if you won’t be meeting the people you’re searching for. Fortunately, many people are eager to share their participation in conferences on their social media profiles, and you can learn a lot just by digging around and seeing what and who are out there.
Sari Holtz is an internet marketing veteran who contributes regular to Consumer-Rankings.com, a website that provides comprehensive reviews of web design software, top VOIP providers, online dating sites and more. If You Wish To Write Articles For Whitec0de Magazine, then Click Here