Friday, August 20, 2010

4 reminders on how to keep your network ignited online

Over our 6 years in business, STINSON Brand Innovation has grown because of the strong connections we’ve built.  These connections have led to new business opportunities, new team members, and great partnerships.  Making connections and building on existing connections, however, often require more time and effort than we may think.

One of my associates recently came across a great post on Mashable entitled “How to Reignite Your Business Network Online.”  The article rings true to how many of us network: we meet individuals at conferences or events, send a few e-mails/make a few phone calls, and then slowly lose contact. The key to breaking this habit is being “bold” and reigniting those old connections through online networking.
  1. The first step to reinitiating contact is e-mailing any and all “lost” contacts that you are interested in reconnecting with.  State that you came across their card and are “looking to reignite your network.”  The worst that can happen is that they don’t respond.  If they do send a response, that’s one more connection you have made and another opportunity you have built.
  2. Next, you should “follow up on an e-mail or call with a LinkedIn invite, but don’t try to ‘cold call’ with one.”  If it has been awhile since you have made any contact with an individual, they are likely to reject your invitation to connect.  Be sure you are only sending these invites to those who have responded to your e-mails and/or calls; if they didn’t respond, they’re probably not interested in reconnecting.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take action with your connections.  Ask local connections to meet up for coffee “whenever it is most convenient” for them, ask them for advice, and keep them engaged using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Finally, schedule follow-ups.  Don’t let your network go “stale.”  You should base your follow-up schedule on “how close or important the contact is to you.”  Follow-up is most important because it prevents you from ending up right back where you started.
If you’re networking like this, too, then I’m sure we’ll see each other very soon.

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