5 Keys to Online Networking

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Apply good networking fundamentals online.

there are several ways to develop your word-of-mouth marketing, but it's important to understand that the foundation of making online networking work for you is the same as with any kind of networking--you've got to develop relationships with trusted business associates.

Finding your way into the online networking realm, and using your visits there effectively can be helped by applying traditional referral networking thinking.

According to Dr. Ivan Misner, CEO of the world’s largest networking firm, BNI (Business Network International), the goal of networking online is the same as traditional networking: you’re trying to form a relationship with somebody you trusts and that trusts you.

“With online networking,” says Misner, “there are several ways to develop your word-of-mouth marketing, but it's important to understand that the foundation of making online networking work for you is the same as with any kind of networking--you've got to develop relationships with trusted business associates.”

In a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, Misner shared his five tips for networking success online:

1. Join one or more online networking communities – Actively participate. No matter which community you choose, however, after joining, you need to participate

2. Start a blog or write a regular column for a website or e-newsletter. You can start a blog (basically an online diary) on one of the larger blogger sites or online communities; you'll create more buzz for yourself

3. Develop an e-mail newsletter for your own company. Create an e-mail database of clients, customers and friends, and send them regular content that drives them to your own website.

4. Never forget that online networking is still about developing trust. In order to drive business to your company by word of mouth, you must focus on developing real, personal relationships with people.

5. Understand that online networking has its own cultural norms. Many cultural pretenses don’t exist online, however, and people tend to be much more blunt when responding online than in a face-to-face meeting. With online networking, people feel it's easier to be more direct.

BNI (http://www.bni.com) is a referral networking organization, which at last count had over 4,000 individual chapters in 25 countries worldwide. BNI’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Ivan Misner is the author of several book’s including the NY Times best-seller, Masters of Networking, (http://www.MastersofNetworking.com) and the recently released #1 best-seller, Masters of Success (http://www.MastersofSucces.biz).

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Michael Drew

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