Networking is one of your keys to success in running your businesses. But for some, networking is easier said than done. While who you know is important, it’s what you do with those connections that can make a difference.
Even if industry professionals know your name and you’ve got enough LinkedIn connections to fill a stadium, you must step up and act in order to get your network working for you. Here are three tips to get better leads using your network.
1. Put in Effort to Maintain Relationships
Once you’ve put in the work to make connections, the next step is to continue to build those relationships. Are you just starting a project or wrapping one up? Did your client like you so much that they extended your contract? Have you learned something interesting recently that you could write about?
Use social media to update your contacts about what’s going on in your professional life. Let people know that you’re working on interesting projects or that you’re available for new work. Just be sure to post consistently on your social channels. You don’t want the only time you show up in someone’s feed to be when you’re tooting your own horn or advertising that you’re available.
Try this: 5 Ways to Promote Your Consulting Business on Social Media
2. Don’t Shy Away from Self-Promotion
Self-promotion is part of the game as an independent professional. Don’t be afraid to show off your talents or skill set on your resume or social profile. Showcase your expertise with an insightful blog post, highlight your successes on your professional website, volunteer as a guest speaker, or host a webinar.
Jump in on a conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn with your expert opinion—just be sure to follow the 4:1 rule. For every social post you share of your own, share four interesting thoughts from others. Those can be re-tweets, industry knowledge, or non-promotional updates.
It’s much more powerful to show people how good you are at what you do than simply tell them. It also allows your followers and connections to conclude on their own that you really know your stuff—and to spread the word about you.
Up next: 5 Virtual Interview Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Job
3. Consider How You Can Be of Value to Others
Networking isn’t always about you. It’s getting people together with similar, complementary interests. In your pool of connections, you’ll likely come across people whose needs or goals overlap.
Introducing one contact to another is a great way to build strong relationships with both parties because you are showing them that their business means more to you than a paycheck.
Always be on the lookout for an opportunity to put contacts and projects together—two clients, a client and a colleague, or a job lead you don’t have the bandwidth to take on. Introducing others will help you build a reputation as the person to know.
Check out: 11 Ways to Build and Maintain Strong Client Relationships