How to Use Blogging and Social Media To Grow Your Professional Network

Mar 26, 2014 | Updated May 26, 2014

Social networks present amazing opportunities for to meet new people and build professional relationships. The internet is an equalizer. Anyone with something that people want can and will be found. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter give networkers access to millions of people with the click of a mouse.

How to Create Opportunities for Yourself By Blogging

Blogging improves your chances of being found by your target audience. If and when your target audience finds you, they can get to know you based on the personality of your writing, see that you are an expert in your field, and benefit from your advice. Being helpful, displaying your expertise, and being authentic are great ways to network, and blogging can help you do all three!

Blogging can lead to additional networking opportunities, such as being invited to speak at events, attend events, be interviewed, and more. You can also interview people on your blog which could enable you to meet some great people and help them out by publicizing their message.

How to Expand Your Network Using Social Media

Similar to in-person networking, some of the most critical strategies for networking online are be helpful and to be fun to be around. Different social media networks have different norms and etiquette. For example Twitter is more casual and friendly then, say, LinkedIn, which is more professional and formal. Engage with people in conversation in line with the norms and etiquette of the network. Be helpful by sharing your knowledge and promoting other people's work.

How to Meet Your Idols Through Twitter

In many industries, "top players" are getting increasingly active on Twitter. Twitter is a public forum. When someone posts on Twitter, they are doing so to be heard and to engage with their followers. That's an open invitation to engage with them! I can't think of an easier way to be able to start a conversation with someone. Here are a few tactics you could use:

Reply to their tweets with value added commentary and questions. Tweet their blog posts and add your unique commentary. "Mention" them when you share your blog posts, or write a personalized tweet such as "@[your idol] I read your blog post about [topic a] and thought you might be interested in my latest on [topic b] [link]." These tactic will enable your idols to see you, get to know you, and eventually learn that you are someone that they want to meet.

How to Make Networking Online Fun

Networking, online or offline, does not have to be, and should not be, dry. At it's core, networking is really just about meeting and getting to know people in a professional setting.

Talk about topics you're passionate about and with people you enjoy. Engage with your professional contacts similar to the way you would engage with your friends - talk about your shared interests, be helpful, and be fun to chat with. If you enjoy what you do and the people you are networking with, networking can actually be a lot of fun.