I discovered these secrets when I started my first business and I was developing relationships with peers and colleagues. They eventually became affiliates for my ebooks. Since they already had well-established businesses with big readerships, they were a big part of my success. So, I want to share you these tips on how to network for your online business.
1. Give, Give, Give
This networking tip is a play on Gary Vaynerchuk’s book about social media and your readers, but can apply to networking as well. The title of the book is Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and means that you should give before you ask.
The reason I’m bringing this up first is because you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen a new person come to a Facebook group and they’ve just introduced themselves and immediately – even in that same introduction – they are asking for something.
Can you share my post? Will you be an affiliate for my product? Can you share my product even without an affiliate program? Or even just asking questions. Can you help me with X, Y, Z? I don’t think that’s a great idea. Some of this might be common sense, but you want to make sure that you give a lot before you ask.
You can give by sharing their blog post, answering their questions, and investing a little bit of time and being helpful… It’s not about you for a minute. It’s about them.
You can also invest in their services. For example, another thing that I see a lot is people asking someone that wrote, let’s say an Instagram book, for tips on Instagram. If this person is just an acquaintance and you don’t have a strong connection, it isn’t really appropriate to ask for help in this way.
Instead, you should buy her ebook, read up on all of her tips and, if you still have a question, then it is appropriate to say, “Hey, I read your book. I love chapter three. But I was wondering, what did you mean by this?” But don’t ask them to give you free advice when they’ve written an entire book on the topic.
2. Do Not Engage in Gossip and Drama
I’m a big no-drama kind of person. When it comes to online business networking, you will soon realize that it’s a really small world out there. You don’t want to be the one that said this or that. If gossip comes your way, just quickly end it with a response like, “that’s what I love to do.”
Not everyone has to agree with you. It doesn’t matter whether the person knows what they are talking about or not. You don’t have to be snotty about it; simply don’t engage in the gossip or drama. Trust me, it’s not going to serve you well.
3. Get Offline
This tip is a bit unconventional because we’re talking about online business networking. But here’s a secret for you: You’ve got to get off the internet and meet people in person. How you do this depends on where you are.
When you first start your online business, you might not be able to fly in to attend a conference, and that’s fine. But you can get out of your house to go to a book signing with a colleague or peer that you admire. Or you can go to a conference being held in your area.
Start where you are. I like to fly all over the place for conferences because I think that, for me, it’s a really worthwhile investment and I would definitely suggest that you do that as soon as you can.
4. Look At It As a Long-Term Gain
Networking provides you with long-term benefits, so you need to invest in the long haul. Don’t expect results from networking right away. Don’t approach networking as a transactional thing. Just make connections. See who you have something in common with. See how you can maybe support each other with something. But don’t go in there and be like, “Hey, I have a product. Can you be an affiliate?” when you’ve just met the person yesterday.
You don’t need to spend tons of time on this, but spend a bit of time each day in Facebook groups that are in your niche. These groups are also the perfect place to apply networking tip #1, which is to be helpful.
5. Position Yourself as a Peer
I think this networking tip is incredibly important. You need to be perceived as a peer and not, as I like to joke, as a “homie” not a “groupie.” The reason for this is because it is a bit uncomfortable when people approach you and say, “Oh my god! I am such a fan of your work. I can’t believe you are here. Will you take a picture with me…”
Approaching people that way is really awkward. While you can say something like “I am a big fan of your work,” but calm yourself down. Just acknowledge that you’ve followed their work, you appreciate what they do, but don’t present yourself as a fan or they are going to be exiting stage left.
To position yourself as a peer, you must have value. Perhaps you haven’t been in business for as long as they have, but it doesn’t matter. We are all human. Everybody poops.
Make sure you remember these five secrets for online business networking.