Networking in the digital era can be a personalised experience. Here are some tips and apps to get you networking like a pro.
Optimising your professional digital presence is the first step to networking like a pro. After all, you want to send new connections somewhere that makes you look good! As the first port of call, the first step will be to follow our guide on optimising your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re looking to expand your opportunities and really show off your skills, try a profile builder to direct (and impress) your new connections. About.Me offers a free, clean looking profile page with a striking visual aesthetic. However, to really make an impact, SquareSpace’s personal website builder lets you import your entire portfolio, thoughts, blogs, ideas, and anything else you can throw at it in a personal hub of your own achievements. For something a bit less intensive, their ‘Cover Pages’ option give you a single web page to really show yourself off and encourage connections (for the design-centric, this is one to remember!).
Find your network
Though useful for identifying contacts, social networks mightn’t be the place to have that ‘professional’ conversation. Business-centric platforms are almost as prevalent as social, and are an obvious place to start.
In a league of its own, LinkedIn counts 7.4 million Australian users – including 96% of white-collar workers here – amongst its 400 million global community. The recentlyupdated mobile app allows you to search for connections via any number of credentials – from seniority and industry to job types. You can contact others, post listings, publish blogs and really interact with the business you are in (or the one you want to be in) – all from your mobile.
LinkedIn’s unbundling strategy has seen the release of six (yes, six) integrated apps to help you move further in the business world. LinkedIn Jobs, Pulse and Groups can help professionals keep up to date with their industry and find work, while the LinkedIn Groups app connects you with like-minded professionals from anywhere in the world. It’s not just for potential employees too.
Businesses can find huge value in networking down to find crucial talent throughout the hiring process. Recruitment network 1-Page counts over a billion profiles to its registry, allowing business owners to leverage personal connections to filter through ideal talent. Naturally, LinkedIn’s recruiter app also helps you search and review profiles for potential so you can be in contact anywhere you go.
Shapr are doing it with the professional in mind — don’t worry, you won’t be swiping right on your boss just yet. After picking your 50 most trusted LinkedIn contacts, it presents a selection of new people for you to either approve and break the ice, or swipe left and keen on searching. Treatings has a similar approach but is geared towards uniquely skilled collaborators for technical or creative projects.
Unpacking the handy functionality found in a lot of mobile CRMs, CamCard allows you to take a photo of any business card to auto-pull the information and store them on your computer via the cloud.
Lastly – it’s easy to think of sites like StumbleUpon or Medium as mere time-fillers, but their taste-sharing capabilities are a silver bullet for effective networking. Not only can you discover news and professional thoughts via any number of relevant tags, you can also choose writers to follow, bookmark or connect with via personal message. In fact, the opportunity for direct contact to authors of clever material might be even more valuable than the content itself.
Meet me for a coffee?
Setting up your network is great, but what can you put in place to make the intent real? For teeing-up a casual chat, Google’s Calendar and Maps integration has made it supremely easy to schedule meetings, find appropriate locations (with user-generated reviews) and get directions all from your mobile. Doodle is another fantastic app for scheduling meetings, with an added Poll feature that lets multiple members of a party choose the best place and time to meet.
MeetMe lets you choose your location (point A) and your contact’s location (point B), providing a suitable list of locations to meet in the middle. After you have selected your destination, you will both be emailed directions.
Finally, nothing says ‘I can’t be trusted with your business’ quite like choosing a spot with bad coffee, so vet convenient cafes with Beanhunter.
It’s just good business.