online networking niche

Chi Chi Okezie guides us through the maze of choosing an online networking niche

The digital space continues to expand rapidly in ways we could never have imagined. It seems as though a new online platform is popping up every day. Although there are benefits in having a strong digital footprint and online presence, the process can be quite daunting.

The best solution is to select one or two platforms which fit your niche. Use discernment and strategic decision-making to pick online spaces which complement your networking goals. This allows you to connect with the right audience for the best forms of engagement. Focus on the end result and establish quality relationships for your career and professional or personal advancements.

Here are some useful tactics for seeking out a niche for your networking endeavors:

Have clear goals

Before you begin to navigate online networking, it is imperative that you have clear goals, objectives and plans for networking. Create a networking plan which outlines your intentions and methods for successfully capturing your activities and interactions. Similar to a business plan, it is a living document that can be evaluated and modified. As you outline your goals, a few characteristics or similar themes will emerge. Take note of these themes and align them with the most suitable online networking platform. Reach out to your current networks for feedback, advice and suggestions.

The next step is to create a schedule for engagement. It can include updating your profile and summary, scheduling posts, making time within the day or week for interactions and other activities. Keep in mind that each platform has a unique value proposition. Align that value proposition with your networking intentions and use it to guide your online behavior.

Utilize online resources

Do your research. Most successful networking involves preparation and scaling your processes. Search online for the best times to post on your desired online platform. Picking days or times which have the most activity can increase your communication with others: views, impressions, comments, posts, reposts, etc. Monitor your activities. Be consistent to gain the most accurate and precise information for your decision-making.

Streamline your processes and save time and energy by utilizing a scheduling tool. Be creative in the content you use for scheduling your posts or online interactions. You can align your posts with a weekly or monthly theme which is relevant to you and your network, or you can post about upcoming events, holidays, etc. Keep the content fresh, up to date and interesting.

To stay in touch with your networks, consider downloading the platform app to your mobile phone. You can adjust the notifications and privacy settings for more control and workability. Timely and responsive posts are always beneficial; they can showcase your value, authenticity and professionalism. Your networks are most likely to stay engaged and connected when they feel there is a sense of community.

Be intentional

Finally, be intentional in the way in which you communicate in virtual environments. Use the same style and tone across all platforms and make sure it resonates with your brand. This form of consistency builds trust, credibility and respect with others. Also, be conscious of your online presence and use responsibility and accountability in your relationship building. Offer content that is relevant and beneficial.

Use #hashtags to strengthen your digital footprint. They can position you to attract like-minded followers and connections. Take advantage of online resources to search for top hashtags in your profession or discipline. As you continue to grow your networks, diversify your contacts across departments, teams, companies, industries and regions. By diversifying your connections, you can gain even more access to opportunities and broaden your scope of networking.

Be mindful of your approach and interactions online; they must always align with your values and brand. Networking is a journey, and mastering the online environment increases your chances of success and advancement.

Chi Chi Okezie is the owner and producer of SIMPLEnetworking, LLC, a consulting firm based in Metro Atlanta, GA, USA which specializes in business networking, diversity and inclusion. Her company was granted a Proclamation for Business Networking Day by ... (Read More)

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