No one ever said networking is easy, but it is easier than it used to be! Nothing beats face-to-face networking, but social media has made the rest of it much more manageable.
Experts call it Hybrid Networking, where you take the online to the offline. You have a much better chance of meeting someone in person if you've already developed a relationship online.
The biggest, and most obvious, for business networking is LinkedIn. First of all people are there for business. How annoying would it be to have someone ask you about your busineses below a photo of your niece's birthday party on Facebook? It's also the best for utilizing your existing connections to build new ones.
If you haven't completed your LinkedIn profile, do it now. Go ahead, I'll wait.
The more complete your profile is the more potential clients, companies, and friends can learn about you. Now that that's done follow these tips:
Avoid Generic Requests When sending a request to connect don't just send the auto-message. Take a minute to include a personal note. This is the beginning of your relationship. Someone important to your future deserves more than the LinkedIn equivalent of a swipe right.
Have Good Manners Online Don't post about your lunch on LinkedIn. If it's not important or interesting to a business contact, skip it. Also don't spend it selling. After browsing what other people post you'll get a good idea of what people do and don't want to see.
Quality over Quantity On Twitter some people think the more followers the better. LinkedIn is for quality connections. Spend the time on people you actually know or want to know.
Follow Companies Great companies have their own feeds now and share great content. Plus by engaging with it you can develop relationships with those companies (or at least the person who runs the social media feed).
Join Groups This is where you can really start to build relationships. You can even create a group!
For more networking tips check out Inc.