10 Ways to Build Your Virtual Network

How do you spend most of your time?

It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that every moment of our day is an investment. The time we spend can either propel us (and others) forward, or keep us stuck.

To me, the best investments I make with my time are ones where I’m establishing and cultivating relationships.

When we have solid relationships in our network, opportunities and potential partnerships are truly limitless.

I gained 100% of my new (non-corporate) business contacts through social media. While I chat with many online, I take the time to build relationships via phone calls and in-person meet-ups. I love meeting people in person, but it’s not required. I’ve never personally met the person I work most closely with and the one I call “leader.”. That doesn’t make our relationship any less effective or valuable.

Here are the methods I use to build virtual relationships:

  1. I Comment — I take the time to provide thoughtful commentary and responses on posts of interest. This dialog is a great way to tease out where others stand when it comes to particular issues and determine if you’re aligned. This includes considerate contrary responses and ones designed to expand the dialog. In all cases, it’s a matter of reflecting my truth.
  2. I Support Others (including people I don’t know) — When commenting, I read the comments made by others and respond in kind by providing support (with likes, reactions, and supplemental commentary).
  3. I Track Details — I recall personal details about those in my network and the things they value. This puts me in a position to see how I can best help them achieve their goals. And, no, I’m not doing this to sell them something (although that often happens after we’ve been communicating for a period of time).
  4. I Connect People — I connect with others via private and direct messages. I spend most of my time online. While doing that, I come across many items of interest. If someone in my network consistently posts about yoga and I see something unique related to yoga (whether that’s a funny meme, new study, or new class), I’ll pass that along via messenger, email, text, sharing it on their timeline, or tagging them in a post or comment thread.
  5. I Share Value — I’m always scanning new tools. When I find something of value, I share it so others can value it too (where applicable).
  6. I Introduce People— Because I’m familiar with my network and their skills, areas of expertise, and areas of interest, it’s easy for me to see connections and know when it’s appropriate to introduce different people in my network to one another.
  7. I Care about People — When I can see someone is struggling with an issue or celebrating something (whether it’s business or personal), I take the time to reach out and let them know I see what’s going on and I’m in their corner supporting them and cheering for them.
  8. I Review Services — I provide feedback on the services I receive by giving the service provider a review. Social proof is one of the best sales tools we have at our disposal. Reviews and referrals are like gold to business owners.
  9. I Promote Others — I often promote the providers by letting others in my network know about the excellent service I received.
  10. I Share — I share work created by others. If I find an article/video/meme that moves me in some way, I share it with my network (via my timeline, my business page, my Facebook group, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and in closed groups of interest).

Bonus technique:

11. I Invite — If I see an event someone in my network might like, I invite them to attend the event with me. Sometimes I make blanket invitations, “I’m going to this event, does anyone want to go with me?” Events are a great way to connect with others when you share mutual interests. Often, these events are more personal in nature and give you a chance to see contacts in a new light.

Relationships are valued and valuable. Having valuable connections is truly a matter of the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you. In other words, ask yourself how your virtual clients would be best served. Better yet, ask them. Then over deliver consistently and diligently.

When applied consistently and diligently, these strategies will pay off over time. They don’t pay off immediately and not necessarily in the way you expect, or from the same contacts you developed, but they always pay.

Stay you, stay true, and make the best investment of your time you can.

There’s life after depression and it’s brilliant. Let’s Dance!


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