We’d never suggest that living exclusively by the mantra that it’s not what you know, but who you know is healthy, but there is no question that having a large, powerful network of people to whom you can turn at any given time is going to boost your prospects for success in life. We’re not saying you need to have 1000 friends whose names you all remember, but your network has the potential to open doors that might otherwise have remained closed.

Building Your Network

You can take several approaches to building your online network. You might look to reach out through your blog, you might pitch your services to businesses and build relationships that way, or you might simply look to connect with as many relevant people as possible through a variety of social media platforms.

The most likely approach is that you’ll use all three of those options, and maybe some others, to cultivate your network and ensure you have the influence and connections you need.

Here’s how you can go about it.

Know What You Want

Why do you want to build a network? Are you simply looking to build relationships so that you’re able to connect with people as and when you need them or do you have an immediate purpose that you’re looking to satisfy?

You might be seeking clients for your business, looking for job opportunities, searching for advice, or simply looking to grow your influence in your industry.

If you treat networking like any other part of life – setting objectives so you know what you’re working towards – then you’ll see success.

Grow Your Online Profile

This doesn’t mean you need to have a presence on every social networking website possible. Instead, think about the places where you’re going to meet the best people who can help you achieve your objectives.Just because you’ve heard about how much fun Twitter is, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for you. It is probably best to keep personal and professional networks apart, too. Finding a potential business partner on Facebook is okay but do they really want to know what you think about religion or politics?

Learn to Blog

What’s to learn about blogging, surely it isn’t difficult?

It isn’t, but what we’re looking at is learning how to blog in a way that enables you to communicate your expertise and knowledge so that people will want to connect with you. Let’s face it, demonstrating what you’re about and bringing people to you is far better than going cap in hand asking people to connect randomly without an introduction or prior conversation.

Think Brand

This idea grows from the online profile piece; whenever you approach someone or post content, whether it is a blog or social media post, think about the impression that makes.

“Alright mate, just thought I’d see if you wanted to connect,” probably isn’t the best approach to take. Alternatively, “Hi, I’m an SEO consultant with an interest in meeting new people and looking to build mutually beneficial professional relationships,” sums up who you are and what you want perfectly, and appeals to whomever you send such an invitation to.

Building a powerful network takes time and effort; make sure you give your networking the attention it needs, and you’ll find your opportunities start to grow quickly.

[box_light]Cristen Bagley is a social media expert who is passionate about networking and the opportunities it can provide. Cristen is currently using the enthuse network to meet a variety of new people and build exciting business relationships.[/box_light]