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Eight ways to start networking online

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Over the past 12 months I’ve met many people who want to network online, but don’t know how to get started. Here is my eight step quick guide to getting started with online networking:

1. Write a profile

Write a short profile about yourself, making sure you include relevant keywords within the description. You can then use it as the basis for all your online profiles and biographies. Make sure to include your talents and experience as well as your job title and companies.

2. Get a photograph

Find a good quality, but low resolution, professional head and shoulders photo. Use this on your profiles, so people can put a face to a name. It makes you more personable.

3. Get online

Join LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a at least two other online forums. I personally frequent LinkedIn Answers, the Everywoman forum, The Executive Village and sometimes UK Business Forums. If you want to come and say “hello”, you can connect with me on Twitter through @heathertowns or @joinedupnetwork

4. Connect with others

Fill out your profile for the online networking sites that you’ve joined and follow the sites’ suggestions to connect with people you may already know. For example, LinkedIn will go through your Microsoft Outlook and online address book to find people you already know on LinkedIn, and send them a request to connect.

5. Start a blog

Start your own blog and write about a subject which showcases your credibility. Update your blog at least once a week.

Use:

  • The WordPress or Typepad application on LinkedIn to connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile
  • Twitterfeed to connect your blog to your social networking status updates, eg Twitter and Facebook

6. Communicate with others

Introduce yourself to other people within your online networking sites.

7. Read others’ blogs

Do a Google search for blogs which write about subjects that interest you, or subjects that match your specialism. Add the blog’s RSS feed  into your RSS feed reader, for example Google Feed Reader.

8. Network every day

Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes each day to go into your online networking sites and read the blogs in your Google Feed Reader. Aim to complete the following each day:

  • A status update relevant to the audience on the site. For example, keep your status updates on LinkedIn very professional; but light, personal and social on Facebook
  • Help someone out on the site, for example, answering a question or connecting two people together
  • Find up to five people to start a conversation with, whether this is commenting on a blog or chatting to someone on Twitter, answering a “LinkedIn question” or joining in a discussion on an online forum

Have I missed out any of the basics? Leave your answers below.

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